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Sixteen Tons

Music by Merle Travis

"Sixteen Tons" is a song about a coal miner, based on life in coal mines in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky.[1] It was written and first recorded by Merle Travis at the Radio Recorders Studio B in Hollywood, California on August 8, 1946. Cliffie Stone played bass on the recording.[2] It was first released by Capitol on the album Folk Songs of the Hills (July 1947 The song became a gold record. The line, "You load sixteen tons and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt," came from a letter written by Travis' brother John. Another line came from their father, a coal miner, who would say, "I can't afford to die. I owe my soul to the company store. A 1955 version recorded by Tennessee Ernie Ford reached number one in the Billboard charts,[5] while another version by Frankie Laine was released only in Western Europe, where it gave Ford's version competition. On March 25, 2015, Ford's version of the song was inducted into the Library of Congress's National Recording Registry

    Release Date: 1946


Sixteen Tons

Sixteen Tons

Hi-Lo's

The Hi-Lo's give the classic 'Sixteen Tons' their treatment on a Julie London TV show



Songbooks, Arrangements and/or Media

Displaying 1-14 of 14 items.


Forever Plaid : Forever Plaid Songbook : Solo : 01 Songbook : 723188619313  : 00-VF1931

Forever Plaid : Forever Plaid Songbook

Twelve songs from the hit stage production of the same name.

Songlist: Three Coins in the Fountain, Undecided, Moments to Remember, Crazy 'Bout Ya, Baby, No, Not Much!, Cry, Sixteen Tons, Catch a Falling Star , Heart and Soul, Shangri-La, Rags to Riches, Love Is a Many Splendored Thing

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Voicing: Solo | 2818b | Songbook | $12.95 | PVG


Various Arrangers : The Great American Songbook - Country : Solo : Songbook : 884088862480 : 1476875499 : 00110386

Various Arrangers : The Great American Songbook - Country

This essential compendium of country tunes includes: Abilene - Always on My Mind - Are You Lonesome Tonight? - Blue Bayou - Breathe - Butterfly Kisses - Can the Circle Be Unbroken - Cold, Cold Heart - Desperado - The Devil Went Down to Georgia - Flowers on the Wall - For the Good Times - Galveston - The Gambler - God Bless the U.S.A. - I Swear - Jolene - The Keeper of the Stars - On the Road Again - Rocky Top - Smoky Mountain Rain - Stand by Your Man - When Will I Be Loved - You Don't Know Me - Your Cheatin' Heart - and scores more! 400 pages of music!

Songlist: I Saw The Light, Abilene, Achy Breaky Heart (Don't Tell My Heart), Act Naturally, I Swear, Teddy Bear, The Keeper Of The Stars, Can The Circle Be Unbroken (Will The Circle Be Unbroken), On The Road Again, All My Ex's Live In Texas, Butterfly Kisses, Through The Years, All The Gold In California, Stand By Me, Breathe, Always On My Mind, You're Still The One, I Am A Man Of Constant Sorrow, Annie's Song, Are You Lonesome Tonight?, Games People Play, You Decorated My Life, Big Bad John, Blue Bayou, Blue Moon Of Kentucky, Bonaparte's Retreat, Jolene, Bye Bye Love, You Don't Know Me, Can't Help Falling In Love, and more

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Voicing: Solo | 2558b | Songbook | $24.95 | PVG


17th Avenue All-Stars : True Colors : 00  1 CD

17th Avenue All-Stars : True Colors

The departure of La Tanya Hall to a solo career and untimely death of Jeff Harris left Robert Johnson and Norm Silver to rebuild the group with arranging assistance by founder Robert Anderson. New members Jacquelyn Farrell, Rita Dean and Evan Blackstone continue the standard of vocal excellence. The ten songs include only one original by Robert Johnson who was busy with production as well. Included are "Sweet Dreams", "Stand By Me" and "Working In A Coal Mine" in addition to the beautiful title track "True Colors"..

Songlist: Sweet Dreams, Drive My Car, Sixteen Tons, Yes We Can , Stand By Me, True Colors, Working In The Coal Mine, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, Brother John, Some Kind Of Wonderful

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2234c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella


The Alley Cats : Greatest Hits : 00  1 CD

The Alley Cats : Greatest Hits

One of our favorite all-male Doo-Wop quartets of all time, The Alley Cats first got together for some streetcorner harmonizing at Fullerton College (CA) in 1987, were the Disney house Doo-Wop band and won the LA Harmony Sweeps Regional. So we had our chance to be blown away by their dynamic and hilarious live act at both the West Coast A Cappella Summit as well as at the Harmony Sweeps National Finals. "Greatest Hits" is of course a "Best Of," featuring winners like "Don't Be Cruel" and "Sh-Boom" from their best-selling CD "The Doo-Wop Drive-In Live;" "Remember Then" from the CD "Strike #!;" "Morse Code of Love" and "Love Potion #9" from "Cruisin';" "Little Darlin'," "Come Go With Me" and "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" (the best we've ever heard it) from "The Cat's Meow;" plus two never released cuts, "The Longest Time" and "Unchained Melody." Also included are 5 stellar cuts from their new live show, "Bandstand Boogie," "Rock Around The Clock," "Sherry," "Higher and Higher" and Tennessee Ernie Ford's deathless top-40 hit "Sixteen Tons." And finally, the Cats' very first, very hot original Doo-Wop song, "You Make Me Weak!" "Greatest Hits" is a Doo-Wop party, Big Fun from first cut to the 17th-don't miss this one!

Songlist: You Make Me Weak, Bandstand Boogie, Rock Around the Clock, Sherry, Higher and Higher, Sixteen Tons, Come Go With Me, Little Darlin', The Lion Sleeps Tonight, Morse Code of Love, A Cappella, Love Potion #9, Remember Then, Don't Be Cruel, Sh' Boom, The Longest Time, Unchained Melody

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8146c | 1 CD | $14.95 | A Cappella


Alti & Bassi : Medley  : 00  1 CD

Alti & Bassi : Medley

Alti & Bassi are five debonair-looking, fun-and-Western-music-loving Italian men whose "Medley" is exactly that, a 32-song medley. Or more correctly, a medley comprised of seven medleys, beginning with 8 heavily-accented Disney chestnuts ("Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf," "Heigh Ho," Bibbidi Bobbity Bu" and others); a masterful 4-song Platters medley ("My Prayer," "Sixteen Tons," "Only You" and "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes"); a jazzy "West Side Story" medley ("Maria," "Tonight" and an apropos "America"); an "I Love America" Broadway medley ("Singin' In The Rain," "Cheek To Cheek," "Night and Day" and "New York, New York"); a seven song Beatles medley "A&B Road" ("Abbey Road," get it? It includes "Sgt. Pepper's," "If I Fell," "Norwegian Wood," "Help," "All You Need Is Love" and other favorites); a "Canto Libero" medley of Italian favorites ("Fiori Rosa Fiori Di Pesco," "Il Mio Canto Libero" and "Con Il Nastro Rosa") and finally the "A&B G's" medley (The Bee Gees of course, "(Saturday) Night Fever," "How Deep Is Your Love" and "Stayin' Alive"). These guys have loved and listened to a lot of records, cassette tapes and CDs to sound as much like these groups as they do. We love all this music, too, and Andrea, Alberto, Paolo, Diego and Filippo have the a cappella chops to do it justice. Listen to the yummy bass lead on "Sixteen Tons" (which we seem to remember as a Tennessee Ernie Ford hit, rather than the Platters, but no matter), and to the falsetto lead on "Saturday Night Fever"-these guys may come across as somewhat silly at times (we prefer "fun-loving") but they can really sing, and they give us a sweet taste of 32 wonderful songs here. Which we think you will enjoy, as we did!

Songlist: Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf, Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes, Heigh Ho, A Spoonful of Sugar, The Bare Necessities, One Song, Bibbidi Bobbidi Bu, Everybody Wants To Be a Cat, My Prayer, Sixteen Tons, Only You (And You Alone), Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, Maria, Tonight , America, Singin' In The Rain, Cheek to Cheek, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Long and Winding Road, If I Fell, Norwegian Wood, All You Need is Love, Help, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, Fiori Rosa Fiori Di Pesco, Il Mio Canto Libero, Night Fever, How Deep is Your Love, Stayin' Alive

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5879c | 1 CD | $15.95 | A Cappella


Artistic License : Painting Outside the Lines : 00  1 CD

Artistic License : Painting Outside the Lines

This highly-awaited release captures the Artistic License joy we've all seen in their live shows and lets you bring it home with you. This rising quartet has one of the most listenable sounds around and their attention to music detail is refreshing. It features lots of fresh arrangements by some of the very best young arrangers in the Society and the foursome treats each song like it's a gem. One of the neat things about this album is that each song is unique - it's not more and more of the same. Songs that stand out include: Sixteen Tons, where bass Jason Dyer lays down the law; Let's Just Stay In, a newish jazz tune that just says "comfortable love" all over it, I Can Only Imagine, where tenor Todd Kidder raises the (very high) roof; Everybody Wants to be a Cat, where the quartet combines Disney and barbershop and somehow turns it into an outrageous, swingin' party; and the closing Parting Glass, a traditional Irish tune that gets a lovely and thoughtful treatment. This is a very engaging group and this CD is a great addition to any a cappella lover's collection.

Songlist: It's a Grand Night for Singing, Sixteen Tons, Lets Just Stay In, Isn't This A Lovely Day (To Be Caught in the Rain), Looking at You, All I Need Is The Girl, Gospel Medley, The Very Thought of You, What Chance Have I With Love?, I Can Only Imagine, I'm Yours, Everybody Wants To Be A Cat, The Parting Glass

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22282c | 1 CD | $14.95 | A Cappella


Bluegrass Student Union   : Legacy : 00  3 CDs :

Bluegrass Student Union : Legacy

This three-CD collection by the Bluegrass Student Union, with its stellar harmonies and faultless execution, is a must-have for any fan of barbershop and will earn many new devotees. BSU, a celebrated quartet formed in 1974 and winners of the 1978 SPEBSQSA Championship, has produced a treasure. A retrospective of their entire career, the collection includes barbershop favorites such as "Coney Island Baby" and "How Ya Gonna Keep 'em Down on the Farm." the songs from Broadway's "The Music Man" that comprised their third recording, Gershwin classics such as "Our Love is Here to Stay" and "I've Got a Crush on You," and so much more! In addition, BSU has provided extensive liner notes that explain the group history and philosophy, and reveal the musical intelligence and knowledge that is evident in their work. Another bonus is the superior quality of the recording itself, which adds to the enjoyment. Highly recommended.

Songlist: I Told Them All About You Dear (Medley), I've Found My Sweetheart Sally, When It's Darkness On The Delta, Meet Me In Rosetime Rose, Midnight Rose, Girls Medley, The Auctioneer, Eyes Medley, Just One Of Those Things, This Little Piggy, Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone, It's Not Where You Start/ Rose Colored Glasses Medley, Hi Neighbor, The Old Songs Medley, Biff The Friendly Purple Bear, Java Jive, The Chordbusters' March, I'm Confessin' That I Love You, Sixteen Tons, Here's To The Winners, My Honey's Lovin' Arms, The Bluegrass Gospel Medley, The Wells Fargo Wagon, Iowa Stubborn, Ya Got Trouble, Good Night My Someone, Marian The Librarian, Pick-A-Little-Talk-Little and Good Night Ladies , Shipoopi, The Sadder but Wiser Girl, and more

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5003c | 3 CDs | $59.98 | A Cappella


Countdown : Time After Time : 00  1 CD

Countdown : Time After Time

This enhanced CD receives udos for excellent entertainment value. Countdown, from the Far Western District, have exercised their imaginations to the fullest, providing not only a baker's dozen of enjoyable barbershop tunes, but a veritable extravaganza of amusement. Take the Countdown quiz, watch a video, or play our personal favorite, "Whack A Barbershopper!" This is not to discount the quartet's vocal abilities, whether playing it straight ("Roses of Picardy," "There Used To Be A Ballpark," "Turn Around"), or light-hearted ("Mobile," "18 Wheels On A Big Rig"). Ingenious.

Songlist: South Rampart Street ParadeKen Potter, Roses of Picardy, There Used to Be a Ballpark, Jeepers Creepers, Turn Around, River Stay 'Way From My Door, Mobile, I'm Gonna Lock My Heart, Time After Time, So Long Sally, Sixteen Tons, Old St Louis, 18 Wheels On A Big Rig

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5446c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella


Encore! : Without A Song : 00  1 CD

Encore! : Without A Song

Mixed quintet (two men, three women) Encore! is acclaimed music educator/performer/arranger/director Kirby Shaw's baby, and is all those things for the group, which includes his wife, Markita, singing alto. 16 classic, somewhat incongruous songs: ("Their Hearts Were Full of Spring" segueways into "Sixteen Tons, for instance, and "Java Jive" into "The Rose"). But luckily, each song is a gem, for which Kirby's flawless arranging and directing is largely responsible. Other favorites: "Ain't Misbehavin'," "If Ever I Would Leave You," "Long Ago (And Far Away)," "The Boy From New York City," and "Without a Song." Kirby and company are having big fun here, and so are we!

Songlist: A Cappella, Ain't Misbehavin', Their Hearts Were Full of Spring, Sixteen Tons, If I Ever Would Leave You, Java Jive, The Rose, Shoo-fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy, Long Ago (And Far Away), The Boy from New York City, Johnny Has Gone for A Soldier, Rock Me in the Cradle of Love, Star Spangled Banner, Three Little Fishies, A Joyful Noise, Without A Song

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4522c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella


Fabulous Delacardos : Flat Top, Sock Hop, Doo Wop : 00  1 CD

Fabulous Delacardos : Flat Top, Sock Hop, Doo Wop

'Hotter than a drive-in on a July night, smoother than a pocketful of jello... Here are The Fabulous Delacardos' That's what it says right here on the notes!We've never had a pocket full of jello, ourselves. In 1981 for a 20th class reunion of one of the members, the five men and one woman decided to recreate the music they loved as they grew up. They sing a New York style with a distinctly southern twist for they are from Tennessee. As an aside, the fine woman's voice you will hear belongs to Christy Little who ran for a Juvenile Court Judge in 1998.The 28 tunes are those that any one who went to high school in the late fifties or early sixties will have to remember fondly, or else turn in your Baby Boomer ID.

Songlist: One Fine Day, Sixteen Candles, I Go To Pieces, Stagger Lee, Love Potion #9, All I Have To Do Is Dream, Silhouettes, Dedicated To The One I Love, Sh-Boom, The Lion Sleeps Tonight, So In Love, Come Go With Me, Be My Baby, Blue Moon, Cab Driver, Runaround Sue, Rockin' Robin, The Wanderer, Goodnight, Sweetheart, Goodnight, In The Still Of The Night, Hearbreak Hotel, What's Your Name, Sincerely, Sixteen Tons, Da Doo Ron Ron, Under the Boardwalk, Sea Of Love, Rock & Roll Is Here To Stay

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8224c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella


The Gas House Gang : Our Rough & Tumble Best : 00  1 CD

The Gas House Gang : Our Rough & Tumble Best    Out of Print

Just before beginning their ascension to international acclaim the Gang released this recording of twelve songs which are of a great variety. You keep running into unexpected little embellishments on the pure barbershop songs such as the brief intimation of calliope or the bell-like chord inthe "Bowery Medley." Then there is the ringing traditional close harmony of "So Long, Mother," the sweet beauty of "When I Look In Your Eyes," the humorous "My Old Man" (of Smothers Brothers fame) and the fabulous enunciation on "The Chemical Elements." There's gospel, a popular sound on "Sixteen Tons" and the "William Tell Overture" is in the spirit of their later Mozart spoof. Great!

Songlist: Bowery Medley, Sixteen Tons, So Long, Mother, K.P., When I Look In Your Eyes, Pass The Apples Medley, Liar Medley, Old St. Louie, My Old Man, The Chemical Elements, Sweet Hour of Prayer, William Tell Overture

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5061c | 1 CD | $14.98 | A Cappella


Hi-Lo's : Happen To Bossa Nova / Happen to Folk Songs : 00  1 CD :  5256

Hi-Lo's : Happen To Bossa Nova / Happen to Folk Songs

Here, in their full glory, are the first two releases the group recorded on Reprise. This is classic stuff as these vocal masters explore two different musical genres with their usual sophistication and expertise. They use the most difficult form of voice pattern. Unlike many vocal groups, which keeps to intervals of thirds fifths and ninths, The Hi-Lo's apply intricate harmonies, moving tones, and suspended chord intervals using about every altered degree of the solmization scale in their arrangements. There are many gems including the practically a cappella "Black Is The Color of My True Love's Hair" featuring a rare solo exquisitely sung by Clark Burroughs and most of the vocal arrangements are by the man himself, Gene Puerling. The majority of these tracks have not been previously released on CD making this a great addition to all of their fans collection. Includes original LP art work and liner notes.

Songlist: Carnaval, The Gift, Let's Go To Brasil, A New Dream, Gold Brazillian Sun, One Note Samba, The Duck ( O Pato ), Cry Your Sadness, Desafinado, Once Again, Love and The Rose, No More Brasil, Sixteen Tons, Turkey In The Straw, Careless Love, Cotton Fields, Black Is The Color of My True Loves Hair, Ezekiel Saw De Wheel, Yellow Rose of Texas, Michael, Gotta Travel On, Cockles and Mussels, On Top Of Old Smokey

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4479c | 1 CD | $13.95 | Some a cappella


Hudson Shad : Sing Something Simple : 00  1 CD

Hudson Shad : Sing Something Simple

The vocal style on "Sing Something Simple"will ring some bells with anyone who has seen the first "talkies,"sound-tracked movies or cartoons from the Roaring Twenties. This silly, sometimes manic jazzy music from the era of the Flapper went especially well with the new cartoons made popular by Walt Disney and Max Fleischer (creator of Betty Boop). The six male members of Hudson Shad owe a particular debt of gratitude to the American group, The Revelers, and the German group, The Comedian Harmonists. In fact 7 of the 9 songs on "SSS"that were penned in the 20s and 30s were originally recorded by these two groups. The other 7 titles, "Lonely House,""Lonesome Town,""Day-O,""16 Tons,"Civil War lament "Tenting Tonight,""I'm Going Home"and "Wiegenlied"share a bluesy, endless workday theme and/or feeling. Yet however "down"the message, the tempo and optimistic outlook on life remain upbeat. The elements of HS's timeless pop are catchy words, infectious melody, realism, and humor (with light piano accompaniment).

Songlist: Sing Something Simple, Jollity Farm, I'm Yours, Stardust, That's My Weakness Now, Lonlely House, Happy Feet, Lonesome, Glad Rag Doll, Day-O, Sixteen Tons, So Blue, Tenting Tonight, Show Me the Way to Go Home, I'm Goin' Home, Wegenlied

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4499c | 1 CD | $15.98 | Primarily a cappella


Bluegrass Student Union   : Commencement : DVD

Bluegrass Student Union : Commencement

1978 International Barbershop Harmony Society Quartet Champs BSU have had a legendary career spanning more than 3 decades, 100 recorded songs and 1000 live performances. "Commencement" is a remarkable gift to their fans and to all fans of Barbershop, combining a dvd that follows the college analogy with a "Digital Video Disc Yearbook" in four Chapters, Freshmen, Sophomores, Juniors and Seniors." These feature clips of some of the group's influences, which they call "hero quartets:" the Suntones, the Citations and many others, with the groups' commentary on what made them want to sing along with and learn from these quartets. A favorite from Chapter 1's 14 clips would be "The Old Songs Medley," from Chapter 2's 6 clips, "Porgy and Bess Overture," from Chapter 3's 20 clips, "Mardi Gras Medley," and from Chapter 4's 9 clips, "The Bluegrass Gospel Medley." Then we come to an audio CD of 8 tunes, a few favorites are "Back in Business," "It's Sand, Man," "I Can't Run Away From You," "Without A Song" and "It's a Wonderful Life." This audio disc is excellent, the frosting, if you will, on the cake that is the dvd. "Freshmen," for instance, has over 41 minutes of wonderful live video clips, "Sophomore" has over 29 minutes, "Junior" over 44 minutes and "Senior" 38 minutes-of wonderful vintage costumes and great music, that shows the evolution of a group known as the "valedictorian" of the Barbershop Harmony Society's "class of 1978." Trust us, there's more incredible history and music here than we can begin to describe to you. If you love Barbershop or vocal harmony in general, just treat yourself to Bluegrass Student Union's lifetime achievement: "Commencement!"

Songlist: Minnie The Moocher, It's Sand, Man, Chordbusters' March, The Old Songs Medley, My Honey's Lovin' Arms, All The Things You Are, I Can't Run Away From You, Sixteen Tons, Old Grey Bonnet Medley, Together Wherever We Go , Danny Boy, Goodbye, Anna In Indiana, Midnight Rose, Jukebox Saturday Night Medley, Stardust, Mills Brothers Medley, Porgy and Bess Overture, A Foggy Day (In London Town), This Little Piggy Went To Market, Swanee, Is It True What They Say About Dixie, Renegades Opener, Margie, O My Love Is Like A Red, Red Rose, Bring Back Those Good Old Days , How's Every Little Thing In Dixie, Whippoorwill Medley , You're The Flower Of My Heart, Sweet Adeline, How Ya Gonna Keep 'Em Down On The Farm, and more

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5004dvd | DVD | $34.95 | A Cappella


Individual Folios

Displaying 1-3 of 3 items.


Sixteen Tons : SATB : Kirby Shaw : Merle Travis : DVD : 00-41893 : 038081469737

Kirby Shaw : Sixteen Tons

It's been performed by Elvis, Stevie Wonder, and a host of others, but it was the Tennessee Ernie Ford recording that brought this song to national attention and the top of the Billboard charts. Great voice-leading and a tight rhythmic groove make it fun to sing.

Arranger: Kirby Shaw | Composer: Merle Travis

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Voicing: SATB | Sheet Music | $2.00 | A Cappella |
(Minimum order 4 copies)
| 00-41893


Sixteen Tons : SAB : Kirby Shaw : Merle Travis : Sheet Music : 00-41894 : 038081469744

Kirby Shaw : Sixteen Tons

It's been performed by Elvis, Stevie Wonder, and a host of others, but it was the Tennessee Ernie Ford recording that brought this song to national attention and the top of the Billboard charts. Great voice-leading and a tight rhythmic groove make it fun to sing.

Arranger: Kirby Shaw | Composer: Merle Travis

More details
Voicing: SAB | Sheet Music | $2.00 | A Cappella |
(Minimum order 4 copies)
| 00-41894


Sixteen Tons : TBB : Kirby Shaw : Merle Travis : Sheet Music : 00-41895 : 038081469751

Kirby Shaw : Sixteen Tons

It's been performed by Elvis, Stevie Wonder, and a host of others, but it was the Tennessee Ernie Ford recording that brought this song to national attention and the top of the Billboard charts. Great voice-leading and a tight rhythmic groove make it fun to sing.

Arranger: Kirby Shaw | Composer: Merle Travis

More details
Voicing: TBB | Sheet Music | $2.00 | A Cappella |
(Minimum order 4 copies)
| 00-41895

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