Sixteen Tons

Story Behind The Song

Loved this song in the 50's when I first heard it.

Song Description

Life of the miner was held by the company. They were not payed with real money but with company dollars and were charged for housing, food and any necessaries for life. So to say they were close to not having a life. and this is a protest song

Song Length 3:21 Genre Folk - Traditional, Folk - Americana
Tempo Medium Slow (91 - 110) Lead Vocal Female Vocal
Mood Troubled, Irate Subject Power, Existence
Similar Artists Loreena McKennitt, Sarah Brightman Language English
Era 1800 - 1899

Lyrics

Sixteen Tons
Some people say a man is made out of mud,
a poor man's made out of muscle and blood,
muscle and blood and skin and bone,
a mind that's weak and a back thats strong

You loaded 16 ton what'a you get another day older
and deeper in debt, saint Peter don't ya call him cause he can't go
he owes his soul too the company store.

He was born one morning and the sun didn't shine,
He picked up his shovel and he walked to the mine,
He loaded 16 ton of number 9 coal
and the strawboss said...well bless my soul,

You loaded 16 ton what'a you get another day older
and deeper in debt, saint Peter don't ya call him cause he can't go
he owes his soul too the company store.

He was born one morning it was drizzling rain,
a fightin' and touble on his middle name.
Raised in a cane raked by an ol' mama lion
an't now hightone woman made him walk the line.

You loaded 16 ton what'a you get another day older
and deeper in debt, saint Peter don't ya call him cause he can't go
he owes his soul to the company store.

If you see him coming better step aside
a lot of men didn't and a lot of men died,
one fist of iron the other of steel
if the right one don't get ya, then the left one will.

You loaded 16 ton what'a you get another day older
and deeper in debt. Saint Peter don't ya call him cause he can't go
he owes his soul to the company store.

He owes his soul to the company store.
He owes his soul to the company store.



Syncopated percussion leads into the surprise: a bright, steady take on the Merle Travis classic Sixteen Tons. Sung with a jazzy warmth - and, rather unusually, by a woman, it works well. An original, worthwhile version that deserves some airplay.

The intro is very professional sounding. Great production and recording, I love all the live playing!! Thank you! Excellent instrumental arrangement on this classic.

Lovely update of a classic song. The music had me from the start and hearing a fresh take on a favorite song is always a delight. I rated originality as average because it is a cover. I'm not usually fond of soprano voices so I was pleasantly surprised by this one. I could happily listen to her sing any time.

Great intro for starters, great build up into the main song. Lyrics are great here, the thing that really struck me on first listen is how solid the lyrics are. Lovely guitar throughout.
I really like this song, listened to it twice. It's catchy, good music,instrumentation and lyrics. Vocals delivered very well also. Great job.

A very nice arrangement of a classic song. I especially like the intro, beginning with percussion and then moving to a syncopated guitar strum. The flute-like sound in the intro and again at the end is very nice. A female singing this song adds an interesting dimension, and her voice is perfect for this song.

Really neat version of the old classic.
Love the interplay of the instruments...nicely done.

Great arrangement, loved the laid back, slightly funky vibe - reminded me of several of my favourite 60's folk rock albums. There's a lot going on in the mix but its beautifully balnced and doesnt seem overly busy - loved it

Lyrics Merle Travis Music Merel Travis
Producer Joe Podlesny Publisher Joe Podlesny
Performance Delta Burnett Reed/music arranger Joe Podlesny Label Avocet Studios
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