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Down Easter Alexa chords

version 2
version 2

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Downeaster Alexa
Words & Music By Billy Joel
Arranged for Single Acoustic Guitar
Transcribed by Eric Norcross

Note: Arrangements for this transcription were made several ways, over the course of the
past few years. First and foremost by listening to all the different recordings of the song
I could locate, including covers. Secondly using notes from existing tabs and chord progressions.

The end result is this document, which I believe to be an incredibly accurate representation
of the song for a single acoustic guitar.

*See below for the back-story of this song.  You shouldn’t sing it unless you know what
singing about!

Chords Used:
	         Am         Am7add11        G          F
E     ---------0---|---------0----------|---3---|---1---|------|-------|
B     ---------1---|---------1----------|---3---|---1---|------|-------|
G     ---------2---|---------0----------|---0---|---2---|------|-------|
D     ---------2---|---------0----------|---0---|---3---|------|-------|
A     ---------0---|---------0----------|---2---|---3---|------|-------|
E     ---------0---|---------x----------|---3---|---1---|------|--------|

Intro: The intro is the main part of the song that simulates waves crashing against the
hull of an old Downeaster fishing trawler. This is also played once very quickly after 
the line of each verse as noted below.

Am – Am7add11 – Am - G
Am – Am7add11 – AmG
Am – Am7add11 – Am

         C          G         Am Am7add11 Am
Well I'm on the Downeaster Alexa
        C                G              F
And I'm cruising through Block Island Sound
       F           C                Dm
I have chartered a course to the Vineyard
         C       G              F
But tonight I am Nantucket bound

           G              C                F
We took on diesel back in Montauk yesterday
              G                  Am                  G    F
And left this morning from the bell in Gardiner's Bay
              G               C	         F
Like all the locals here I've had to sell my home
             G                  Am                G
Too proud to leave, I worked my fingers to the bone

         C          G         Am Am7add11 Am
So I could own my Downeaster Alexa
        C                G              F
And I go where the ocean is deep
       F           C                Dm
There are giants out there in the canyons
         C       G              F
And a good captain can't fall asleep

           G              C                F
I got bills to pay and children who need clothes
              G                  Am                  G    F
I know there's fish out there but where, God only knows
              G               C	         F
They say these waters aren't what they used to be
             G               Am               G
But I've got people back on land who count on me

         C          G         Am Am7add11 Am
So when you see my Downeaster Alexa
           C              G           F
And if you work with the rod and the reel
       F           C         Dm
Tell my wife I am trolling Atlantis
        C            G           F
And I still have my hands on the wheel

Break: 	Am Am7add11 Am G Am Am7add11 Am G
	Am Am7add11 Am G
	Am Am7add11 Am

         C          G         Am Am7add11 Am
Now I drive my Downeaster Alexa
        C                G              F
More and more miles from shore every year
       F           C                Dm
Since they told me I can't sell no stripers
             C          G             F
And there's no luck in sword fishing here

           G              C        F
I was a bay man like my father was before
           G              Am         G         F
Can't make a living as a bay man anymore
                 G            C	          F
There ain’t much future for a man who works the sea
             G                  Am                G
There ain't no island left for islanders like me

          C G   Am Am7add11 Am
Ya, ya, ya   yo
          C G   Am Am7add11 Am
Ya, ya, ya   yo
          C G   Am Am7add11 Am
Ya, ya, ya   yo
          C G   Am Am7add11 Am
Ya, ya, ya   yo

End it with: Am Am7add11 Am

==Song Facts==

Downeaster Alexa: In the first verse of the song, Billy Joel establishes that he’s a
fisherman working on a Downeaster fishing vessel called the “Alexa”.  There is an 
actual fishing boat berthed along the coast of Maine called the Alexa (note: Maine’s 
coast is often referred as “Down East”.)

Block Island Sound, Vineyard, Nantucket: The song is written for the mariners working in
the North Eastern United States, and so many of the geographical places are mentioned.
Block Island Sound (a nautical passage way off of Long Island’s East End.

The Vineyard refers to Martha’s Vineyard. Nantucket is Nantucket Island.

Montauk is the eastern most point of Long Island and often associated with the famous
Montauk Point Lighthouse. Gardiner's Bay is a part of the Atlantic that lies between
the north and south forks.

Prior to the influx of the rich, the whole south fork of Long Island used to be a 
working class cluster of fishing villages. There is a single political point to the 
song: making a living as a mariner is becoming a lot harder as the rich take over
coastal properties and the seas become more and more over-fished. This is an
escalating problem for maritime workers: less product to fish, rising cost of
ocean front land to have a port.

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7 comments total. Showing first comments.
+1 reply
ericnorcross 209 Sep 29, 2009 01:06 PM

FYI: Some chords weren't placed correctly when transferred from the word doc to the website, so you'll have to improvise. Also, they cut out a lot of my ongoing explanation, so it looks like I can't type for jack.

+2 reply
Bornloser20 10 Oct 17, 2009 12:19 PM

This is great, played it a few times today and really enjoyed it. Love the song, thanks. :)

0 reply
ericnorcross 209 Oct 18, 2009 07:42 PM

Your welcome. Enjoy!

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