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Come Back Strong - Hotlanta Soul 4 - Various Artists

Reviewed by Heikki Suosalo

Rating: 8/ 10


UK Ace CD, 2016
1) Big Boat Ride - Dorothy Norwood - Dorothy Norwood
2) We Always Come Back Strong - John Edwards - John Edwards
3) Face To Face - Judy Green - Judy Green
4) Up Is Down - Joe Hinton - Joe Hinton
5) I Can't Leave You Alone - Jimmy Lewis - Jimmy Lewis
6) The Party Life - Hannibal - Hannibal
7) When A Woman Loves A Man - Jean Battle - Jean Battle
8) A Love Like Yours - Lorraine Johnson - Lorraine Johnson
9) You Get To Me - Lee Bracket - Lee Bracket
10) Claim Jumpin - Bill Brandon - Bill Brandon
11) If I Had My Way - Delia Gartrell - Delia Gartrell
12) A Hundred Years From Today - Dee Ervin - Dee Ervin
13) What Good Is A Love - Sam Dees - Sam Dees
14) I Want Cha To Let Me Come Home - Floyd Smith - Floyd Smith
15) I Still Love You - Judy Green - Judy Green
16) I've Come Too Far With You (To Turn Back Now) - Rozetta Johnson - Rozetta Johnson
17) Hollywood Faces - Joe Hinton & Dee Ervin - Joe Hinton & Dee Ervin
18) It Takes More Than A Moment - Phase Four - Phase Four
19) Come And Get It - The Steppers - The Steppers
20) Go Away Get Out Of My Life - Carl & Jackie - Carl & Jackie
21) Complain To The Clouds - Deep Velvet - Deep Velvet
22) So Can I - Loleatta Holloway - Loleatta Holloway
23) The Best Of My Years - Lorraine Johnson - Lorraine Johnson

† My next ďDeepĒ column is due to be published with a delay Ė probably only in November Ė so as an exception I decided to review this one new compilation separately and almost right after its release.

Come Back Strong ∑ Hotlanta Soul 4 (CDKEND 454,; 23 tracks, 76 min.) features southern soul music from Michael Thevisí group of labels out of Atlanta, Georgia.† Eleven tracks on this CD were not released at the time of recording, in the early 70s, and those that saw the light of the day came out mainly on Aware, GRC and Act One Productions labels.† Besides Atlanta, Birmingham, Alabama, is another source and in some cases there were Detroit connections, too.† Ady Croasdell tells it all in his detailed notes.

† One noteworthy feature here is the amount of strong lady singers, many of them having passed the gospel exam.† Dorothy Norwoodís Big Boat Ride is a spirited dancer, whereas Judy Greenís I Still Love you so is a powerful deep soul ballad.† With a few other big-voiced ladies here, thereís one more interesting connection Ė Sam Dees - who wrote or co-wrote songs for them.† Jean Battleís When a Woman Loves a Man and Lorraine Johnsonís The Best of My Years are both impressive soul ballads, not to mention Rozetta Johnsonís Iíve come too far with you (to turn Back now).† Add to that still Loleatta Hollowayís So Can I.

John Edwards excels on Samís mid-tempo We Always Come Back Strong, while Bill Brandon gets into the funky Johnnie Taylor groove on his cover of Claim Jumpiní.† Sam himself stirs up fervour on his demo of What Good Is a Love, and Phase Fourís take on It Takes More Than a Moment is a big production, poppy mover Ė a very good one, though.

† Besides some Funk Brothers as musicians, Deke Richards as a writer and Paul Riser as an arranger on the above Dorothy Norwood track (Big Boat Ride), other Detroit connections can be found on a funky scorcher titled Come and Get It by The Steppers (out of Detroit) and on a quick-tempo pop track - Š la 5th Dimension - called Go Away (Get out of My Life) by Carl James & Jackie Irvin, produced by Detroitís Johnny Powers.

† Other familiar artists on this set are Joe Hinton on a Jerry Butler type of a mid-tempo swayer named Up Is Down, Dee Ervin on the dramatic A Hundred Years from Today (somehow Zager & Evansí In the Year 2525 came to my mind), Jimmy Lewis on his down-tempo I Canít Leave You Alone, King Hannibal on the slowed-down version of Johnnie Taylorís gem, The Party Life, and Floyd Smith out of Chicago, who talks his way through almost till end of I Want ĎCha to Let Me Come Home.† After all Iíve written above, I think itís quite obvious that I strongly recommend this CD to all real southern soul music fans.

© Heikki Suosalo

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