Sixteen Tons

DESCRIPTION: "Now some folks say a man is made out of mud, But a poor man's made out of muscle and blood." The singer describes the hard life in the mines -- and the debts incurred. "St. Peter, don't you call me, 'cause I can't go; I owe my soul to the company store."
AUTHOR: Merle Travis
EARLIEST DATE: 1946 (recorded by author)
KEYWORDS: work hardtimes poverty mining
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Lomax-FSNA 154, "Sixteen Tons" (1 text, 1 tune)
Green-Miner, p. 279-281, "Two by Travis": p. 295, "Sixteen Tons"(1 text, 1 tune)

Roud #15162
George Davis, "Sixteen Tons" (on GeorgeDavis01)
Tennessee Ernie Ford, "Sixteen Tons" (Capitol 3262, 1955)
B. B. King, "Sixteen Tons" (RPM 451, n.d.)
Merle Travis, "Sixteen Tons" (Capitol 48001, 1947; on 78 album "Folk Songs of the Hills", Capitol AD 50; rec. 1946)

cf. "'31 Depression Blues" (lyrics)
File: LoF154

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2018 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.