Hear the foghorns moaning
The tugboat chains are groaning
A land to be alone in
Where they cut the tall trees down
I don’t know where they’re going
The logs that they are towing
The river’s overflowing
With tall trees they cut down
As long as I remember
We had eternal timber
And men so strong and limber
To cut the tall trees down
From the mountains to the coast here
How they would brag and boast here
The river’s full of ghosts here
Who cut the tall trees down
Both the lyrics and the tune for this song were written by Mary Garvey. Despite all the songs that Mary has written, this was the first time she has been recorded in a studio. As she performs the song, with harmony vocals by Jan Elliott-Glanister and Chris Roe, it becomes a hymn to logging and tugboats on the lower Columbia river.
Tugboats are essential to transport logs to mills, both in the lower Columbia on the border between Washingon and Oregon, and in the upper reaches of the Columbia River in British Columbia.
You can see some great photos of log booms and tugboats on Flickr.
Chris Roe can be heard singing lead on two other tracks on this CD. Jan Elliott-Glanister is part of Watch the Sky!, the group that composed the music for and performed ‘The Tugboat Captain’. Jan can also be heard performing accompaniment or backing vocals on several songs on this CD.