Sixteen Tons
Written by Merle Travis




Some people say a man is made outta mud,
A poor man's made outta 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, 'cause I can't go,
I owe my soul to the company store.


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 store boss said: "Well, a-bless my soul!"


I was born one mornin', it was drizzlin' rain,
Fightin' and trouble are my middle name,
I was raised in the canebrake by an ol' mama lion,
Ain't no-a high-toned woman make me toe the line.


If you see me comin', better step aside,
A lotta men didn't, a lotta men died,
I’ve got one fist of iron, the other of steel,
If the right one don't a-get you, then the left one will.

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