Hunters and Collectors – Sixteen Tons

Original Versions

Version Length Source Availability
Live 4:26 1982 09 19 Stranded, Sydney, Australia Cassette The Vault digital download at True Believers, 20 August 2012.

Recommended Version.

 

Commentary

An early cover performed by Hunters and Collectors in 1981. Exists on bootlegs. Originally written in 1946, Sixteen Tons was US number 1 hit for Tennessee Ernie Ford in 1955.

 

Lyrics

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 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 because I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store

I was born one morning 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 because I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store

I was born one morning, it was drizzling 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 because I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store

If you see me coming, 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 because I can’t go
I owe my soul to the company store

[George S. Davis / Merle Travis]