Before perfecting his own minimalist brand of funk on songs like "Cold Sweat," James Brown put his distinctive touch on a number of different soul music genres. "Night Train" was Brown's inspired entry into the soul instrumental subgenre that groups like Booker T. & the M.G.'s dominated in the early '60s. "Night Train" was an old standard, previously tackled by the likes of Louis Prima, that primarily devotes itself to an instrumental groove built on a circular musical motif designed to replicate the churning sound of a locomotive. Brown's recording of this tune expands on the train-inspired melody with a tight, clever arrangement that adds jazzy, train whistle-styled horn riffs over a rolling, insistent rhythm section groove. Saxophonist J.C. Davis adds a few wild solos into the mix and James Brown himself holds the whole thing by laying down a steady beat behind the drum kit. Unlike many instrumentals, "Night Train" adds intermittent vocals from Brown, who kicks off the song with a lively "All aboard the night train!" and interjects soulful wails of the night train's stops (including Atlanta and Miami) before closing the tune out with a rousing chant of "night train, carry me home." All these engaging elements add up to a fun, rousing instrumental that was perfect for dancing. Accordingly, "Night Train" became a Top Five hit on the R&B chart and made it into the pop chart's Top 40 listings. It also inspired scads of other interpretations by everyone from King Curtis to Paul Revere & the Raiders. However, James Brown's take on "Night Train" remains the top favorite with soul fans and it also made the soundtrack of the hit Ron Howard film Apollo 13.