Unjustly ignored at the time of its release, Fred Jackson's lone album, Hootin' 'N Tootin', is a thoroughly enjoyable set of funky soul-jazz with hard bop overtones. It is true that Jackson doesn't try anything new on the set, but he proves to be a capable leader, coaxing hot, infectious performances out of guitarist Willie Jones, organist Earl Vandyke and drummer Wilbert Hogan, all of whom were collegues of Jackson in the Lloyd Price band. All of the songs on the album are Jackson originals, and while there are no substantial, memorable melodies, they provide an excellent foundation for the group's smoking interplay. Both the uptempo R&B numbers and the slower blues give the musicians plenty of opportunity to flaunt their chops while working the groove, and the result is a modest but highly entertaining set of earthy, bluesy soul-jazz that should have been heard by a wider audience. Blue Note's 1998 CD reissue adds all of the material from the second and final session Jackson led. All seven tracks from that session are in the same soul-jazz vein and feature the same group, augmented by bassist Sam Jones. Their presence on the reissued Hootin' 'N Tootin' makes an already fine album even better.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine