Oscar Toney, Jr.

Loving You Too Long: The Contempo Sessions

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Essentially, this CD is an expanded version of Oscar Toney, Jr.'s mid-'70s U.K. album Loving You Too Long, with the addition of three bonus tracks and historical liner notes. The nine tracks from the album are the core of this compilation, and were recorded by the soul journeyman in London after he met some admirers who helped arrange for him to get a deal with the Contempo label. The location of the recording is probably the most interesting thing about the material from the Loving You Too Long album, which is an average, competent soul record with a slightly retro (by mid-'70s standards) feel. The London musicians play reasonably well, usually in a laid-back Southern soul style, and Toney emotes respectably on a set dominated by covers of fairly well-known soul standards. The song selection, actually, might be the least adventurous aspect of the LP, including covers of such well-worn hits as "For Your Precious Love," "Message to Martha (Kentucky Bluebird)," "The Thrill Is Gone," "I've Been Loving You Too Long," "My Girl," "Make It Easy on Yourself," and, most oddly, Bread's "Everything I Own." Syl Johnson's "Is It Because I'm Black" was a more daring choice, but just one of the nine tracks, the Otis Redding ballad-styled "Everybody's Needed," was a Toney original. The bonus tracks include non-LP 45 versions of "Kentucky Bluebird" and "Everything I Own," and the more funk-oriented 1975 single "Chicken Heads," all of which were recorded for Contempo during the same era.

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