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The Charlie Maguire Songbook

Words and Chords to His Most Popular Songs

When's That Train A'Coming?

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

A songwriter never knows what song will strike a chord in people. In the past year a young infantryman in the "Big Red One" (U.S. Army First Infantry Division) wrote from Iraq and told me that a song he learned from me in elementary school, and sung to himself to calm his nerves in the face of some brutal and horrific combat, made all the difference in his steady devotion to duty, and to his well being.

I am pleased to tell you that this young man made it through, and is living in the U.S.A. safe and sound. The latest update of his story can be found on the Minneapolis Star Tribune website by Doug Grow www.StarTribune.com/stories/465/5696185.html.

Making a difference in a life is one of the best things about being a songwriter. Forget the entertainment value of a song and the politics and circumstances under which it is sung. If a song under those stressful circumstances calms a person down and gets them home safe and sound, that is a good thing. I hope other U.S. soldiers are singing their own personal favorites under fire, whether it's mine or someone else's.

To Sing Like Charlie Capo Second Fret and Play in "G"

Play Sample

G                 Em         C                  Am
When's that train a'coming? When is that train due?
G         Em                C   D
I want to see her, for the last time
G           Em            C              Am
I loved her dearly, that's why I am here too
C                  D7              C   G
At least she's not alone, for the last ride


G        D  C              G             D     G
Sleeping by the tracks all night, hoping for a view
Am                       Em
It started raining about four a.m.
         C                    D7
But it's supposed to clear by noon
Am                    Em          C             G
There are a lot of us here today, even children too
             D     C           G
All trying to make the best of things
Am               D7
Since we got the news (Refrain)

Additional Verses:

And no one will get on this train, because it will not slow
And no one will get off here, all we can do is watch it go
The Engineer will wave his hand, as they so often do
And we will try and look for her face, as she goes rolling through (Refrain)

And one man says she'll be dressed in white, a woman says in red
"I don't know how she'll look to me." Someone else just said
It's what you lost, and how you lost, that is all we know
But no one here is talking anymore, we just heard the whistle blow (Refrain & Close)

Previous Songs: I Like It Here/O Cold and Misery * 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 * L'Etoile Du Nord * The Hinkley Fire * Winter on the Farm * Darling * Fine Old Lady * Sam Smith * Getting In The Cows * Talking Home Improvement * The Ballad of Augie Mattsen * Itasca * Fall Is Here

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