"Night Train" is a twelve bar blues instrumental standard first recorded by Jimmy Forrest in 1951."Night Train" has a long and complicated history. The piece's opening riff was first recorded in 1940 by a small group led by Duke Ellington sideman Johnny Hodges under the title "That's the Blues, Old Man". Ellington used the same riff as the opening and closing theme of a longer-form composition, "Happy-Go-Lucky Local", that was itself one of four parts of his Deep South Suite. Forrest was part of Ellington's band when it performed this composition, which has a long tenor saxophone break in the middle. After leaving Ellington, Forrest recorded "Night Train" on United Records and had a major rhythm & blues hit. While "Night Train" employs the same riff as the earlier recordings, it is used in a much earthier R&B setting. Forrest inserted his own solo over a stop-time rhythm not used in the Ellington composition. He put his own stamp on the tune, but its relation to the earlier composition is obvious. Like Illinois Jacquet's solo on "Flying Home", Forrest's original saxophone solo on "Night Train" became a veritable part of the composition, and is usually recreated in cover versions by other performers. Buddy Morrow's trombone transcription of Forrest's solo from his big-band recording of the tune is similarly incorporated into many performances. 
"Night Train" has been recorded by numerous performers over the years. Jimmy Forrest's original version of "Night Train" was a #1 R&B hit in 1952. Forrest later recorded a Spanish Tinge version entitled "Night Train Mambo". 
James Brown released a version of "Night Train" in 1962 that reached #5 on the R&B charts and #35 on the pop charts. His performance replaced the original lyrics of the song with a shouted rough list of the stations on the Seaboard Air Line Railroad's Silver Meteor service and many repetitions of the song's name. A live version of the tune was the closing number on his breakthrough 1963 album Live at the Apollo. The Zara's performed this instrumental in 1965, showing their ability  once again. Enjoy! By the way, I upload the incredible show James Brown did in the TAMI show, along with The Famous Flames in 1964. I also upload a cover The Toasters did in the LP "New York Fever", in 1992.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I had the privilege of staying at Marino's home in Tafalla a few months ago.

He is still playing with some locals there.

He has the same 45RPM hanging in the livingroom!