Tennessee Ernie Ford wasn't the first artist to record "Sixteen Tons," but he made it his signature. The song, inspired by the travails of the real-life coal miners of Kentucky, was first recorded by one of his forerunners on the Capitol label, Merle Travis, in 1947. That popular version, of a song that bore Travis' songwriting credit from then on, didn't show up on the Billboard charts, even though Travis was emerging with other hits at the time. By 1955, it was ripe for a remake – and would later become the title of one of Ford's Capitol albums.
Curiously, Sixteen Tons the album didn't arrive until 1960, and, even more surprisingly, was not a chart item, even though Ford was in the middle of a 10-year run on TV with his own variety show. Nevertheless, leading off with the title track, it became a vinyl salute to his triumphs of the decade that had just ended. The LP included his earlier country No. 1's, with "Mule Train" and his own composition "The Shot Gun Boogie." Also included was 1950's "The Cry Of The Wild Goose," which, like "Mule Train," saw Ford scoring the country hit with a song taken into the pop charts by Frankie Laine. Sixteen Tons also sported the country top-tenners "Smokey Mountain Boogie" and "Blackberry Boogie."
Now available as a single LP on standard weight vinyl in celebration of Capitol Records' 75th anniversary.