So back in '91, Public Enemy had a song out called Nighttrain which appeared on their album "Apocalypse '91, The Enemy Strikes Black". The song that appeared on the album was good, not great. The remix to the song--which came out in 1992--was simply amazing for so many reasons.
1) James Brown. The remix used the beat to Brown's song, "Get Into It, Get Involved", which is absolutely impossible not to dance and move to. In fact, my mother and father used to tell me that when they were in college, that record had to be a staple at any GOOD party. Public Enemy was smart to incorporate that into the remix.
2) The presence of Pete Rock and CL Smooth. By the time this Nighttrain remix was released, Pete Rock and CL Smooth had already released their 1992 classic, "Mecca and the Soul Brother", , and "(T)hey (R)eminisce (O)ver (You) was just picking up steam. But they already had an EP out from the previous year entitled "All Souled Out", and Pete Rock had been doing great remixes for a few years now--including my favorite remix of his ever for EPMD's Rampage.. So when they both made an appearance on this Public Enemy remix, it set the song off that much more. Pete Rock was on the beat and the adlibs, and CL Smooth laid an efficient verse which effectively stuck with the train theme:
The conductor, track the structure overstood
Nighttrain the plain, little engine that could
One express so the next stops Mecca
A place to face to make a black man better
CL and Chuck D, we don't talk rubbage
But just like a slave, we gotta ride wit the luggage
On the nighttrain
3) The voice. Chuck D has the best verse in all of hip hop. It really doesn't matter what he's saying, because he has the cadence, the tone and the gravitas of a Baptist preacher. But sometimes it is easy to forget just how adept he is at writing rhymes that flow perfectly over the beat--this Nighttrain remix allows him to "catch wreck" as the kids used to say in '92. Chuck is never on anyone's top 10 list in the rhyme department but this song would get him some honorable mention votes.
So why am I mentioning this damn song? Back in 1992, I first heard the remix on Rap City when they played the video and the next week I went to Sam Goody and bought the maxi single. The maxi single had the original song, the instrumental, the remix and the instrumental to that. Sadly, that maxi single was lost some time betwwen 1992 and 2000, but thanks to lovely music sharing sights that popped up around 2002 or so, I was able to find the song and place it on a CD (I didn't have an iPod back then). I lost that damn CD before I had a chance to convert it to mp3, and now I can't find the song. It isn't on iTunes, Spotify, Tidal or anywhere. I've seen it for sale online via vinyl and cassette, but that ain't helping me get it on my iPod. So I need help. If anyone can help, I'd really appreciate it.
And now, the song: