“Night Train” usually evokes images of a dank, smoke filled lounge with a stripper on a small stage. Three or four middle aged men sit around the stage anticipating more than they know they will see. The stripper is a late 30’s, early 40’s dancer about ten to fifteen years past her prime. She’s twenty pounds overweight and accepts with indifference the appearance of cellulite on her upper thighs. The dancer and her audience have one thing in common -- boredom.
Prima Jr.’s cover breaks the spell. His version of this classic is a slower paced, deliberately restrained treatment. His high energy band seems bursting at the seams to triple the tempo and double the volume. The dirty saxophone is countered by clear sharp brass that changes the mood and brightens the atmosphere. It is no less tempting. The Victorian girl next door would find it hard to resist the temptation to jump on stage and rip her clothes off.
Like every track on Return of the Wildest!, “Night Train” snares listeners with an appealing mix of unbridled enthusiasm and self control. I cannot remember the last time that every track on a CD made me smile as it began. You do it in spite of yourself.
The album gets out of the starting gates quickly as Prima Jr and his eight piece band, "The Witnesses," open with a scorching version of “Oh Babe” (a Prima Sr. composition). Singer Sarah Speigel is featured on several numbers including “A Sunday Kind of Love” in which she shines.
Louis Prima, Jr.’s voice is uncannily reminiscent of his father and as he ad libs in “I Wan’na Be Like You”, you can’t tell where “Louis ends and Prima, Jr. begins.” In a surprise treat, Jr. reprises that patented Sr. style scat singing.
No doubt, Sr. would have been pleased.
The CD closes with two of Louis Prima, Sr.’s most well known hits, “Jump, Jive, an’ Wail” and “Just a Gigolo - I Ain’t Got Nobody.” Release date is July 10, 2012 and Return of the Wildest! is available for pre-release order now, just click HERE.