Sunday, August 03, 2008

New Songs Added - Sixteen Tons

Three new numbers got added to the playlist today. While looking for On a Clear Day, I found The Summer Knows by Streisand. That's a pretty seductive number. Among the list of different versions was a duet of her and Michael Crawford singing Music of the Night. It was good but I wanted the original London cast recording. That's one awesome piece of vocal music. I also wanted something really old, so I went looking for Tennessee Ernie Ford and found him singing Sixteen Tons.

That one takes me back to my very early childhood. Our family has a home movie of my younger cousin Annie Laurie singing the chorus to Sixteen Tons. Imagine, a little blond girl with a milk weed in her hand singing "ooh ooh ooh muscle and blood." She couldn't have been more than 4 at the time. When I was taking a US history class at college a couple of years ago I learned why the song was sung. What it describes are the atrocious living conditions of miners who were literally bound by debt to the company that they worked for. The company paid for everything, even their preachers. So what do you think the preachers preached about? Company loyalty of course. The business practices the mine owners followed hasn't been an uncommon throughout history. I think I remember something related to geisha training being similar. But it worries me that in some places people might still be living like that despite improved labor laws. I found the first video easily enough but this second one took me back. What it shows is what the song was talking about. Hope you've got time to watch them both.

That's quite a difference isn't it? :-|


Jeni said...

I'm a "Coal miner's daughter/granddaughter/great-granddaughter and on my Dad's side, great-great-grandaughter -might even go farther back than that in Scotland -and a year ago at the family reunion on my Dad's side, the grandson of one of my first cousins won the "talent" show for doing rendition of "Sixteen Tons." Let's just say the sentiment ran really high that day pertaining to the employment of our ancestors.

Lee said...

Well, Coal miner's daughter Jeni, looks like a lot of good talent comes out of that profession. :)

Glad the song takes you home. :)


murat11 said...

How delicious the irony of tuxedoed swells snapping their fingers along with Tennessee. Good commentary on the back story to the song: thank you for that. Shame you can't upload your cousin's version, though, knowing you, you're working on it as we speak.

Good call on "The Summer Knows": exquisitely sublime Babs.

Lee said...

Thanks, Paschal! :)

Yep, Sis put the 8mm home movies to VHS and Dad has now transferred them to DVD. I need to see if it is on there. Won't have any audio but she was a cutie.


San said...

Quite a difference, Lee. A telling juxtaposition.

And yes, in many places today workers are practically slaves.

Lee said...

Thanks San! Compare and contrast R us. :)

Hope! & Joy!