" 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 performance. Several different sets of lyrics have been set to the tune of "Night Train". The earliest, written in 1952, are credited to Lewis P. Simpkins
, the co-owner of United Records, and guitarist Oscar Washington. They are a typical blues lament by man who regrets treating his woman badly now that she's left him.