Saturday, November 08, 2008

Got you Covered: 16 Tons

16 Tons was written by Merle Travis and first recorded in 1946, but it was Tennessee Ernie Ford who recorded the version most of us are familiar with. What an amazing picture this song paints about the coal mining life. I suppose we can all identify with it in our own day-to-day jobs from time-to-time, even if we aren't lifting 16 tons and don't have to postpone that trip to heaven because we owe our souls to the company store.

Let's listen to Eric Burdon's respectful take on this tune. Frankie Laine recorded a more urbane version, only released in the UK. Nicely done. The Nighthawks recorded a version which featured that shave-and-a-haircut-two-bits Bo Diddley rhythm. Hey, weren't these guys playing in the bar where all the stevadores hung out on season two of The Wire? Nice groove.

Let's go out with a Russian version, just because we can. Here's Vladimir Shlyakov.

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