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Sixteen Tons

Tennessee Ernie Ford

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Album Review

Though named after Tennessee Ernie Ford's biggest hit, Sixteen Tons was released five years after the single was a hit. The large gap of time between the release of the single and album is inconsequential — in essence, the album is a compilation of Ford's greatest hits of the '50s, containing not only the title track, but also "Mule Train," "The Cry of the Wild Goose," and "The Shot Gun Boogie." Though more comprehensive compilations of Ford's work were later released, Sixteen Tons remains an entertaining listen from start to finish; in fact, in terms of sheer listenability, it rivals any of the latter-day collections.

Biography

Born: 13 February 1919 in Bristol, TN

Genre: Country

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

The booming baritone voice of Tennessee Ernie Ford was best known for his 1955 cover of Merle Travis' grim coal-mining song "Sixteen Tons," watered down by the dulcet strains of a Hollywood studio orchestra but retaining its innate seriousness thanks to the sheer power of Ford's singing. But there was more to Tennessee Ernie Ford than that. Over his long career, Ford sang everything from proto-rock & roll to gospel, recorded over 100 albums, and earned numerous honors and awards, including the...
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Sixteen Tons, Tennessee Ernie Ford
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