Bob Milne | The Midnight Express

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United States - Michigan

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Jazz: Boogie-Woogie Jazz: Ragtime Moods: Featuring Piano
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The Midnight Express

by Bob Milne

Amazing solo ragtime & boogie-woogie pianist, subject of the Radiolab “4 Track Mind” podcast, Bob Milne has been described as “having four hands” when he plays.
Genre: Jazz: Boogie-Woogie
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  Song Share Time Download
clip
1. The Honky Tonk Train Blues
Bob Milne
3:47 album only
clip
2. Eccentricity
Robert Milne
2:48 album only
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3. Wabash Blues
Robert Milne
5:51 album only
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4. Water Witch Rag
Robert Milne
3:09 album only
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5. Maple Leaf Boogie
Robert Milne
3:09 album only
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6. 12th Street Rag
Robert Milne
3:04 album only
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7. Wabash Cannonball
Robert Milne
2:59 album only
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8. Summertime Rag
Robert Milne
3:26 album only
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9. The Midnight Express
Robert Milne
2:12 album only
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10. Blind Boone Medley
Robert Milne
3:25 album only
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11. Boogie Down the Line
Robert Milne
2:54 album only
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12. The Old Rugged Cross
Robert Milne
2:21 album only
clip
13. Handful of Keys
Robert Milne
2:06 album only
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14. Beale Street Mama
Robert Milne
3:39 album only
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15. Dear Old Daddy Long Legs
Robert Milne
2:27 album only
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16. Farewell Blues
Robert Milne
3:39 album only
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17. Come September
Robert Milne
3:26 album only
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18. Full Steam Boogie
Robert Milne
2:58 album only
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19. The Wreck of the Old 97
Robert Milne
2:13 album only

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
We’ve all heard stories about the colorful careers of barroom piano players, and none is more colorful than the thirty years that Bob Milne has spent working in saloons, supper clubs, and outright dives in the southern Michigan area. A book has even been written about it. During those years, Bob developed a unique, one-of-a-kind playing style which he describes as “journeyman piano.” That means, “do whatever it takes to make the place swing.” Well, this recording is proof that he can indeed make the piano swing.

Bob’s grandfather and two of his brothers are pictured on the front of this CD. They were a bunch of hard-working Englishmen from Barrow, England, and a family of steam-train engineers they were. His grandfather Walter Hall (on the right) was an engineer in South Africa when this picture was taken near Victoria Falls in 1918. His brothers Ernest (at left) and Eustace (center) were railroad men as well, and when the family came to America in the 1920s, another of them became a wilderness engineer across northern Ontario. This tradition of train men in Bob’s family is why he wanted to include some of the old steam-train songs on this recording. Thus you’ll find the classic “Honky-Tonk Train Blues” by Meade ‘Lux’ Lewis, and “The Wreck of the Old 97,” another classic that has become a well-known folksong now.

When Milne plays these tunes, he never tries to imitate another recording. Meade ‘Lux’ Lewis recorded the “Honky-Tonk Train Blues” three different times, and all three performances were different. Milne, therefore, does not attempt to imitate the individual notes of any performance, but rather recreates the tune in his own style of playing. He did the same thing on Blind Boone’s “Rag Medleys.” Boone wrote two such medleys in the early part of this century, and Milne combined tunes taken from both of them to make this arrangement.

Everything on this recording is played by ear, even his own compositions. Although he’s written them down, he can’t play them the same way twice. He will spontaneously put in a bass line or change a melody, or sometimes he reverses chord patterns on the spot. During this recording session, he would play something and then listen to it on tape. If he tried to repeat what he had just put on tape, however, he found it to be impossible. He couldn’t even imitate himself! All tricks, nuances and interpretations had to be spontaneous. Or, in the words of the true journeyman, “Just do whatever it takes.”

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