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I don't know if this is an appropriate forum for my request as I'm not a musician, much less a sax player. What I am is a rather senior citizen who grew up in New York City listening to Alan Freeds nightly R&R show in the mid 50's - and wants to relive his past!!

For many months in about 1956/7 Alan Freed played a version of Night Train on his nightly WINS radio show. He'd often play it several times a night - almost as his theme song. It was a great, gutsy recording - and I can still hear it in mind some 50 years later!

I want a copy of it and have been searching the web for it for some time now. I've found/tried quite a few artists (Jimmy Forrest, King Curtis, Sil Austin, Louis Prima, Red Prysock, Ernie Freeman, Sam the Man Taylor, Ernie Field, Big Jay McNeely, and a few others) but none sound like the version I believe Freed played.

Does anyone come from the same era as me, and if so can you help?! I think a good possibility is that it was a recorded by Big Al Sears just for Alan Freed as I've read that he was employed by Freed for a while as leader of Freeds own band.

Looking foward to some advice.
 

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Guns and Roses.

Just kidding, (couldn't resist) good luck on your search. Have you tried youtube?
 

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There are 191 versions of Night Train on Rhapsody. James Brown? Sam Butera?
 

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Earl Bostic had a version of "Night Train".
 

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Neil Sharpe said:
Earl Bostic had a version of "Night Train".
That would be my vote.

BTW, please let us know if you find it, which version it is, OK?

(Ahh "Night Train". Fond memories of the first time I heard that song...peeking through the window at a local club's Stag Night show, at age 11. :twisted:
 

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Al Sears and Sam Taylor were members of Freeds band and Freed was known to play trombone from his high school days. After the intro was there a trombone solo or sax solo? The original was Buddy Morrow who I saw recently leading the Tommy Dorsey band.

(John Laughter would prob know the answer to this question)
 

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DukeCity said:
Go to this site:

http://funky16corners.wordpress.com/2007/06/

Scroll WAY down the page to get to podcast v.24 called "Soul Train" it has a few versions of "Night Train" in addition to a bunch of "Soul Train"s.

Very cool stuff in this guy's podcasts!
Good God! Glenn. That was so funky I think I broke my funky bone! I gotta go take a bath that was so funky. Did I say funky?
Fa-fa-fa-funky s$%t!:D

R.
 

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I believe there's a version by Bill Dogget that was great. I mention it only because it's not on your list. Everyone played this tune. I play it with my band. We do a funky James Brown style version, but I'm thinking of counting it down real slow one of these nights and play it like Jimmy Forrest.

Very cool tune.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hey All!
Thanks so much for all your interest and suggestions! Really makes me feel good. I've done some surfing based on your ideas and I think 'Mope's' suggestion of Sam Butera may have hit paydirt. His version on the 'By Request' CD has the slow pace and gutsy horn I recall from way back then! It's hard to be sure as it's been 50 years - and I was listening to a cheap plastic clock radio in those days - but on the other hand, my hearing was probably much better than now!
I'll continue to dig around in the areas you all provided, so thanks again; even to 'Martinman' for his suggestion of Guns n Roses - but way back in my day they were still called 'Spears n Thorns!
Bob K
 

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Good stuff, Bill Mecca! Them were the days!
 

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Bob Kessler said:
I'll continue to dig around in the areas you all provided, so thanks again; even to 'Martinman' for his suggestion of Guns n Roses - but way back in my day they were still called 'Spears n Thorns!
Bob K

It is a completely different song, just with the same name. But you are welcome.:)
 

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Bob, the version you're looking for is the James Brown version. Sam Butera did a great recording, but it's James' version you're looking for.
 

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David Woodford said:
Bob, the version you're looking for is the James Brown version. Sam Butera did a great recording, but it's James' version you're looking for.
Bob referred to the "slow pace and gutsy horn," which does not fit with the James Brown version I've heard. Maybe the gutsy horn does, but James Brown did it fairly up-tempo, and with a straight beat, compared to most versions.
 

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I recall the song. It was not the Forrest version. His version was mild compared to what I remember. I just listened to it.

It was a version that, if memory serves, would be heard in a strip joint. A nice gutsy bawdy version? I was unable to find a "Night Train" recording on the NET associated with Sears or Taylor but the NET does not have everything. As stated above, both worked with Freed in those days but nothing mentioned about this particular tune. Several other sax players also worked with Freed's show band;

http://home.earthlink.net/~v1tiger/samtheman.html

http://home.earthlink.net/~v1tiger/alsears.html

I sent an email to the Alan Freed site to see if they could help us.
http://www.alanfreed.com/

If you use "search" on this site and the words night train you will find some other sax players who were in Freed's backup band.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
John Laughter - sorry for the delay in responding but I was away on holiday. Your reply: I recall the song. It was not the Forrest version. His version was mild compared to what I remember. I just listened to it. It was a version that, if memory serves, would be heard in a strip joint. A nice gutsy bawdy version? is exactly right! Guess I've always been a bit of a rogue!!

I'm now certain it was recorded by Sam Butera (as suggested by Mope) and his band the Witnesses, playing with Louis Prima. I found it on their album The Wildest, originally recorded in 1957, coinciding exactly with when I was hearing it on Alan Freed's radio show. Louis Prima is not exactly what one would expect from Alan Freed, but Freed must have really liked it - or been paid a lot to play it - during those days of Payola!

Thanks again to all for your interest and advice.
 

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Sam could definitely do that style! And it was (and may still be) a popular tune in those settings.

Just for the sake of other versions, I received this email from Stuart Colman who has a wealth of knowledge;

Hi John

Tough one this.
Having dug deep, here are several versions of the tune from around the quoted period.

Helen Grayco (X Records) 1955
Les Elgart (Columbia) 1955
The Owens Bros. (ABC) 1956
Ernie Englund (Cadence) 1955
Daddy-O Gibson (Checker) 1956
Eddie Dean (Sage & Sand) 1956

also 'Night Train Mambo'
Jimmy Forrest (Dot) 1955
J. J. Jones (Specialty) 1955.

Hope this helps

Stuart
 
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