16 Tons - Merle Travis (1946)
Now, some people say a man's made out of mud,
But a poor man's made out of muscle and blood,
Muscle and blood, skin and bones,
A mind that's weak and a back that's strong.
You load sixteen tons and 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.
Well, I was born one mornin' when the sun didn't shine.
I picked up my shovel and I walked to the mines.
I loaded sixteen tons of Number Nine coal,
And the straw-boss hollered, "Well, bless my soul"
Well, I was born one mornin', it was drizzlin' rain.
Fightin' and trouble is my middle name.
I was raised in the bottoms by a mama hound.
I'm mean as a dog, but I'm as gentle as a lamb.
Well, if you see me a-comin' you better step aside.
A lotta men didn't and a lotta men died.
I got a fist of iron, and a fist of steel.
If the right one don't get you, then the left one will.