32 Down On The Robert McKenzie

Paul Gross is an actor/director/musician. The Canadian Gross is best known for his splendid performance as Constable Benton Fraser of the RCMP, in the hit series DUE SOUTH. Gross plays Mountie Fraser, who comes to Chicago on a search for his father’s killer and remains attached as liason to the Canadian Consulate in the city. Along with his half dog, half wolf, Diefenbaker, he joins up to solve cases with the Chicago PD, partnering up with Det. Ray Vecchio and the rest is television history. Certainly his role is one of my favs as I can’t imagine a character quite like his – a Mountie who is so polite, he also never carries a gun while on the search for criminals.

Paul Gross is also a singer and he is responsible for one of my favourite songs of all time – a barnstorming single called 32 Down on the Robert MacKensie”. The song is about an ill-fated ship, suppling coal from Thunder Bay, Ontario to Detroit, Michigan. The ship is stuck in a storm at sea and breaks in half as it hits a huge, sharp rock close to land. The 32 men on the ship are drowned at sea and the lyrics are from the point of view of one of them, who promises to try and get back home to his family. This song is also featured on the soundtrack of Due South and was in an episode during the last season of the series (where I heard it for the first time). He is backed formidably by fellow Canadians, Captain Tractor, who supply the music. It may not be a huge hit but it remains one of my top 10 favourites of all-time.

32 Down On The Robert McKenzie
======================
32 men on a Great Lake boat quit the pier at Thunder Bay
28,000 tons of coal on a cold November day
800 feet and 10 more long, 80 feet across
The steel mills of Detroit our destination through the frost.

At 2 a.m. on the second, waves were running up to 40 feet
Winds were blowing 60 miles, our engines crankin’ heat
At 3:13 we took a wave, our wheelhouse left behind
The radar slipped beneath the waves, and we were running blind

Chorus
Here me call across the waves
If I don’t come home tonight
I will make it home someday
(Steel boats, Iron men) 32 down on the Robert McKenzie
(Steel boats, Iron men) 32 down on the Robert McKenzie
(Steel boats, Iron men) 32 down on the Robert McKenzie

A captain name of Phillips, seekin’ shelter from the storm
Turned us south of Bete Grise Bay by way of Keewenaw Point
But the winds were pushing at such a rate we ended up drifting north
A wave broke over a knife of a rock six fathom shoal

The McKenzie she was cut in half and the stern she rammed the bow
Men were caught in metal jaws and flames burned out of hell
Stern kept runnin’ all her lights ablaze, not one man would be found
Captain’s last transmission read, 32 men down, 32 men down.

Chorus

Here me call across the waves
If I don’t come home tonight
I will make it home someday.
Yes I call across the waves
If I don’t come home tonight
I will make it home someday.

Song for the day – “32 Down On The Robert MacKensie” – PAUL GROSS

7 thoughts on “32 Down On The Robert McKenzie”

  1. Hey George, I guess I answered that for you by sending you an mp3 of the track. Also check out the music video for the song in Youtube.

  2. I am a big fan of DUE SOUTH and PAUL GROSS and I can remember wishing I could meet a Mountie like Benton Fraser. Just got the DUE SOUTH DVDs and have been having a marathon viewing this past week. Last night I watched the episode (Mutiny on the Bounty) featuring this song and found the YouTube video. Now I’m echoing the previous comment, is there a place to find a download of “32 Down’? Really will appreciate your help.

  3. hello Bobbe

    Thanks for your comment. I’m also watching the Due South dvds (in the middle of season 2 now). I’ve seen them before on cable tv here in India but that was quite a few years ago.
    I don’t know if you can download the song online. Why don’t you try torrents? Isohunt or Pirate Bay

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