Here's the bad news: A lot of worthwhile soul-jazz albums that were recorded for small, obscure labels in the '60s are likely to remain out of print. If the rare organ/tenor date that you're longing to hear came out on a tiny label that someone was operating out of his/her two-bedroom rowhouse in South Philadelphia, you had best do a lot of searching at your favorite vinyl gathering. Now, here's the good news: A lot of great soul-jazz was recorded for Prestige in the '60s, and Fantasy (which owns the Prestige catalog) is quite good about reissuing Prestige titles. In 2002, Fantasy reissued two more Willis "Gator" Jackson titles (1963's More Gravy and 1964's Boss Shoutin') back to back on the 67-minute CD Nuther'n Like Thuther'n. Neither album is unique or revolutionary, but both are excellent, highly rewarding examples of the type of groove-oriented soul-jazz/hard bop that Jackson was recording for Prestige in the early '60s. Most of the musicians who join Jackson on More Gravy also join him on Boss Shoutin', including organist Carl Wilson, guitarist Pat Martino, drummer Joe Hadrick, and the underexposed trumpeter Frank Robinson. However, there are two acoustic bassists: Sam Jones on More Gravy and George Tucker on Boss Shoutin'. Both albums point to the fact that, although the Gator of 1963-1964 was calmer than the Gator of the late '40s and early '50s, he still had a big tone and brought a lot of passion to his tenor. This is true on 12-bar jazz blues grooves like "Pool Shark" and "Shoutin'"; it is true on an unlikely Latin boogaloo interpretation of W.C. Handy's "St. Louis Blues" and emotional ballad statements such as "Your Wonderful Love" and "Somewhere Along the Way." Soul-jazz enthusiasts can't go wrong with this fine CD.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson