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The Charlie Maguire Songbook

Words and Chords to His Most Popular Songs


Eight to Twelve

Words & Music by Charlie Maguire © 2009 Mello-Jamin Music. All rights reserved.

My first memorable shipboard experience was standing an all-night watch as we guided our grain vessel M.V. NORDIC TRADER through the eight locks of the Welland Canal that links Lake Erie with Lake Ontario at Buffalo, NY. Normally, a watch for us was four hours on, eight hours off, and four hours on again in a regular routine. In this case however, our Captain thought that our team of deckhands, Wheelman, and Third Mate were so good, upon entering the first lock of the Welland close to the end of our evening watch, he ordered us to take the ship through the other seven locks instead of having the First Mate and his team come on and do it. Moving a vessel 500 feet long, in the dark, carrying 14,000 metric tons of barley, while standing seven stories above the water on the Bridge trying not to bump the sides entering or leaving a lock is a feat of breath-holding seamanship. A feat made all the more interesting when having emerged from the Welland eight hours later, we realized that it was now 8AM and time for us to be on duty once again. Combine that with the fact that one must never sit while on the Bridge (That comfort is reserved only for the Captain), we stood continuously for sixteen hours in all with nary a "bum shaker" scrape along the sides of the canal all night. We called for coffee, chocolate, and food from the galley far below, and lock by lock, gently moved NORDIC TRADER into Lake Ontario, then the Saint Lawrence Seaway that would finally free her from the confining waters of the Great Lakes and the continent of North America, and into open sea.

"Eight to Twelve" is commercially unrecorded, but for more songs of the lakes listen to "Rough Trade" on my latest album GOOD EYE BLIND. Thanks to Paul, in Chicago, for writing and requesting this song.

Play Song

(Key of G Major-Rhymic)

First verse:

G                     Em      C               D7
Keeping watch on the Bridge, now isn't that romantic
G               Em       C              D7
On a ship big enough to swim the South Atlantic
G          Em          C              D7                G-Em-C-D7
Eight to Twelve, but there's another Twelve to Eight tonight
G                         Em          C   D7
We crossed Superior, and Huron, Lake Erie too

G                            Em       C               D7
We're at the Welland now in Buffalo, and we're going through
G         Em          C                D7              G-C7-G
Eight to Twelve, but there's another Twelve to Eight tonight

Refrain:

B7
Call for coffee, dump in some sugar and some chocolate
E7
Mix it up! Drink it down, and take off like a rocket!
A7
Oh yeah, it's going to keep us awake
              D7
Because it's Captain's orders Twelve to Eight!

Additional Verses

The Welland Canal, it's got eight locks
Eight times we put the ship in the box
Eight to Twelve, but there's another Twelve to Eight tonight (Break-then Refrain)

The sky is turning from black to blue
Soon we have another Eight to Twelve to do
Eight to Twelve, after doing Twelve to Eight all night

Keeping watch on the Bridge, now isn't it romantic
On a ship big enough to swim the South Atlantic
Eight to Twelve, after doing Twelve to Eight all night
After doing Twelve to Eight all night
After doing Twelve to Eight all night


Previous Songs: Fine Old Lady * The Teton Dam * Goodnight Baby * The B. C. Rail * Play Us a Waltz * Ozawindib * Long Way to Another Friend * Itasca: A Place of Beginnings * I'm From Minnesota * The Strike Is On * The C.C.C. * Interstate of Broken Hearts * Rainfall Has Turned to Snow * Gypsy Woody * We'd Go To Town (And Go Dancing) * Towboat * The Hinkley Fire * Darling * Fine Old Lady * Getting In The Cows * Talking Home Improvement * The Ballad of Augie Mattsen * Itasca * When's That Train A'Coming? * I Like It Here/Oh Cold And Misery * Winter on the Farm * Sam Smith * L'Etoile Du Nord * Fall Is Here * G. I. Nightingale

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