Thursday, January 31, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 267 SONG # 298

Day 267: A Working Man's Song

Sixteen Tons is a song written by Merle Travis, but it has been made famous by the version recorded by Tennessee Ernie Ford. It is a classic working man's song and it has been covered by many artists, among them Johnny Cash (the second version featured here). A fine blues take has been done by Big Bill Broonzy. Aesthetically, I find the rendering of American singer Anna Domino to be the most attractive - it was produced by Blaine L. Reininger of Tuxedo Moon fame; unfortunately, there is no online source for that one available at the moment. Frank Tovey, who called himself Fad Gadget in the 80ies and changed to his real name to do more folk-oriented music in the 90ies included a version of Sixteen Tons on his 1989 album Tyranny and the Hired Hand, consisting of working class songs.



Some people say a man is made outta mud
A poor man's made outta muscle and blood
Muscle and blood and skin and bones
A mind that's a-weak and a back that's strong

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

I was born one mornin' when the sun didn't shine
I picked up my shovel and I walked to the mine
I loaded sixteen tons of number nine coal
And the straw boss said "Well, a-bless my soul"

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

I was born one mornin', it was drizzlin' rain
Fightin' and trouble are my middle name
I was raised in the canebrake by an ol' mama lion
Cain't no-a high-toned woman make me walk the line

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

If you see me comin', better step aside
A lotta men didn't, a lotta men died
One fist of iron, the other of steel
If the right one don't a-get you
Then the left one will

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store








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