Louis Prima featuring Keely Smith with Sam Butera and The Witnesses – Night Train

• “Night Train” performed live on TV. Thanks to mrdantefontana666.

8.4 “Fantastic Blues / Rhythm n Blues from the USA”

I can hardly believe that 24 days have passed since I last posted a newly discovered great tune. I think I’ve got more than that number “built up” from the last few months of work! I better get to posting…

This tune has its origins in “Happy Go Lucky Local” by Duke Ellington and his Famous Orchestra in 1946.

It was re-invented as “Night Train” by Jimmy Forrest and All Star Combo in 1952. Since then, it has been covered more than 70 times – never better than by Louis Prima’s gang in ’56.

They featured it on their LP “The Wildest” (Capitol Records T-755, 1956).

Ever since the trumpeter / singer / songwriter began away back in the mid-1930s he had been re-inventing himself, moving with the times and was always on the lookout for something new and interesting. In 1954 Prima was offered to stay at The Sahara in Las Vegas to open his new act with Keely Smith, his new wife. He called up New Orleans saxophonist, Sam Butera. With Butera came his background musicians, “The Witnesses”. They were talented musicians who Prima tweaked to his liking. On vocal duets, Keely would play it straight while Louis would act up as a bit of a wild-cat. The act was visually appealing – and the band were smoking hot. Capitol Records came calling in 1955 – they could smell success. Who can resist getting wrapped up in Louis Prima’s craziness? Kick-ass swing knowingly delivered with an assured wry grin…

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