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Duration:03:31
Uploaded:2012-08-13
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In which Hank sings Sixteen Tons
Hello, this is Hank. Uh.. sorta wanted to play a song for you, because I love this song, and I only get to play it every once in a while when my voice is raspy enough from screaming and being sick, which is right now. So uh.. I also like it because it's a great song, and I also like it because it's interesting historically. It's got that line in it: (strums and sings) I owe my soul, to the company store.

Which, um, doesn't have immediate meaning to us until we realize that for a long time, in America, workers, especially miners, were paid not in money but in pieces of paper that they could only spend at one place- the store owned by the company that employed them. Which, of course, basically made them slaves. Um, because they, there was no way to exit their employment, there was no way to save money, because they never got any money. Um, luckily there was a Labor movement, which now we sometimes complain about, but...

Written by Merle Travis theoretically, probably actually adapted by him, written by some miners. 

(begins singing) 

Some people say a man is made outta mud
A poor man's made outta muscle and blood yeah 
Muscle and blood and skin and bones
A mind that's weak and a back that's strong

You load sixteen tons and, what do you get
You get another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

Well I was born one mornin' 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, bless my soul"

You load sixteen tons and, what do you get
You get another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

Well I was born one mornin', it was drizzlin' rain yeah
Fightin' and trouble are my middle name
I got- I was raised in the canebrake by an ol' mama hound 
And no hot-tot woman gon' mess me around 

You load sixteen tons and, what do you get
You get another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

Well if you see me comin', better step aside
You know a lotta men didn't, and a lotta men died
I got a-one fist of iron, and the other of steel
If the left 'un don't get ya
The right one will

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
You get another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

Suck'd to be that guy.