Sixteen Tons

Cat. #1191 (MFH #827) - As sung by Ollie Gilbert, Mountain View, Arkansas on August 31, 1971

Some people says a man is made out'a mud
Poor man made out'a muscle an' blood
Muscle an' blood, skin an' bones
Mind that's weak an' a back that's strong

Well, ya beat 'im sixteen tons
What did he get
Another day older an' deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't ya call me for I cain't go
I owe my soul to th company store

I was born one morning when th sun didn't shine
Picked up my shovel an' I walked to th mine
Loaded sixteen tons of number nine coal
Straw-boss said, well bless your soul

Well, when you see me comin', ya better step aside
Lotta men didn't an' a lotta men died
One fist of iron, the other'n steel
If the right'n don't get ya, well th left'n will

Ollie said her husband used to sing this song all the time. That is the only reason it is in my collection.