Friday, May 16, 2008

Oscar Toney, Jr. - A Love That Never Grows Cold (Bell 699)

A Love That Never Grows Cold

Some things in life are worth waiting for.

As you may recall, we talked last November about Oscar Toney, Jr., and the great records he made with Papa Don Schroeder. Records that played a major role in the development of American Sound in Memphis. In subsequent conversations with Papa Don, he told me that he had some great photos laying around somewhere, and that he would send them along to me as soon as he found them. Only he couldn't find them. He tore the house apart, bugged his wife... basically went nuts looking for them, to no avail. Anyway, a few weeks ago, I got this email from him:

"Well, I guess you think I dropped off the planet and my promise to send you some pictures would not happen. You will not believe how hard my wife searched for this box of memorabilia. I got so frustrated I said a little prayer and last week I had a flashback. I had given it all to a local video producer who wanted to do a documentary on my "other life". When I went through the big C ordeal, I was not able to help him fill in the blanks and it all got put on the back burner. Anyway, I have some pictures... I will get Laser Images, a customer of my radio station, to make you some copies..."

They showed up in my 'inbox' while I was down in New Orleans, and they're just so very, very cool that I wanted to share them with all of you. These priceless images were shot at American in 1967 and, of course, remain the property of Papa Don, and so shouldn't be used without his permission...

Check these out:

Left to right, that's Don Crews, Reggie Young, Tommy Cogbill, Gene Chrisman, Bobby Emmons, Oscar Toney, Jr., Papa Don and Chips Moman.

You gotta love this one! Chips and Papa D. playing poker on Oscar's belly... somehow, I don't think Toney stood a chance in this game! When you think of the fact that it was during one such game (with Dan Penn playing the part of Oscar) that Dark End Of The Street was born a few months earlier, it just makes it all that much more historically significant (or something).

Anyway, these incredible private glimpses into the day to day life at American, just as it was beginning to get off the ground, have been hiding out all these years. Thank You Papa Don for sharing them with all of us! You da man!

Now, as far as this great selection we have here today, it was released as a B side twice, on Bell 699, Without Love There Is Nothing, and again as the flip of Bell 714, Never Get Enough Of Your Love. Written by Toney himself, it doesn't get much 'deeper' than this, folks. I'm not sure, though, if it was cut at American... that doesn't really sound like Reggie Young on the guitar to me, I don't know. I got in touch with Papa, and asked him if perhaps it was cut at Fame, or at his own studio in Pensacola with Moses Dillard. Here's what he had to say:

"I don't remember cutting Oscar anywhere but Memphis, at American. I never went back to Fame after I left to cut Shake A Tail Feather and For Your Precious Love, but I might have cut that at my studio. I just don't remember. Can you imagine how many sides I produced in all those years? Ha!"

Yes, Pops, I can imagine! Thanks again for everything.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely wonderful!! Ty!!

3:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yo. Always diggin' on the blog. I reference it from time to time as I'm sure you have noticed.

I wanted to share something special with you as well and hope that if you think it's worthy, you would what you would do for any worthy content.


Appreciate it. Stay up and don't hesitate to holler any time.



9:42 PM  
Anonymous Nick said...

I just love your blog. It was great to see Oscar at the Porretta Soul Festival a couple of weeks ago (July 2009). He really looked the part, wearing a pink suit and pink shoes with OTJr in lipstick red on the toes, as he went walkabout in the audience as he sang For the Good Times. Check out my photos on on

4:39 PM  

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