Liner Note Author: Ady Croasdell.
The fourth volume of Ace/Kent's ongoing exploration of the vaults of Atlanta's General Recording Corporation -- the studio and related labels spearheaded by pornographer and all-around gangster Michael Thevis -- concentrates on funky, spangly soul recorded in the mid-'70s. Almost half of these tracks were not released at the time and, to be frank, those that did appear on the Aware, Act One, and Clintone imprints weren't widely distributed and aren't well known. Such scarcity is a selling point, of course, of Come Back Strong: Hotlanta Soul, Vol. 4, as there is a significant audience who cherish rare grooves. There are a lot of them here, ranging from funky workouts to slow-burning seduction, smooth soul, nimble proto-disco, and pop-R&B so glittery it could've scored a television show. Most of the singers are steeped in Southern soul tradition, so they're testifying even when they're in satiny surroundings, an aesthetic that gives these slick sounds some grit. When combined with the surprising variety of mid-'70s soul sounds, this hint of rawness gives Come Back Strong: Hotlanta Soul, Vol. 4 palpable pleasure that transcends the workmanlike craft of the compositions. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine