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SIXTEEN TONS

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(Merle Travis)
(o):Merle Travis (1947)label: Capitol
 Such an influential C&W guitarist Doc Watson named his son after him and Chet Atkins his daughter. Country tabloids never detected the slightest hint of romance between this Merle Watson & Merle Atkins, although they tried. Coming from coalminer state Kentucky, Merle Travis released a concept album with local hillbilly work songs in 1949 named Folksongs From The Hills. Realizing he'd have to scrape to collect enough worthwhile material, he composed a few miner songs himself and they all survive the test of time: Dark As A Dungeon, Nine Pound Hammer and Sixteen Tons. This last one was inspired by his own father, who as a miner shoved 16 tons of coal a day. And what did he get? "Another day older and deeper in debt".
(c):Tennessee Ernie Ford (1955) [n°1 US & C&W, landing him more than 16 tons worldwide], Weavers (1955) , Big Bill Broonzy (1956) , Frankie Laine (1956) , Red Sovine (1956) , Max Bygraves (1956) [parody as Seventeen Tons], Freddy Quinn (1956) [as Sie Heisst Mary-Ann; B-side of Heimweh], B.B. King (1956) , John Williams (1956) [as Seize Tonnes, n° 1 F], Bo Diddley (1960) , Louis Neefs (1963) , Harry Nilsson (1966) , George S. Davis (1966) [Kentucky miner for Folkways; claimed on this recording to be the author of this song, having written it in the 1930s as Nine To Ten Tons], Stevie Wonder (1966) , Tom Jones (1967) , James & Bobby Purify (1967) , Mylon LeFevre (1971) , CCS (1972) , Jerry Reed (1973) , Don Harrison Band (1976) , Brave Combo (1984) , Deja Voodoo (1984) , Anna Domino (1985) , Adriano Celentano (1986) [as L'Ascensore], Johnny Cash (1987) , Patsy Montana (1987) [parody as Sixteen Pounds; her final recording], Eric Burdon (1991) , Blue Blot (1992) , Gunther Neefs (1996) [and in 2000 with Voice Male], Stan Ridgway (1999) [triphop version], Eels (2005) , LeAnn Rimes (2011) , Dandy Warhols (2012) ,
 
Merle Travis relates in the Country Music Encyclopedia: "I stole pieces of two Josh White songs and wrote Sixteen Tons."
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