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Tennessee Ernie Ford: Sixteen Tons - His 30 Finest 1949-1957



Tennessee Ernie Ford (1919-1991) was one of the most successful Country artists to crossover and gain mainstream popularity. His deep, warm voice, humour and easy country-boy charm made him ‘Mister Country Music’, a huge star in the 50s. Sixteen Tons was both his biggest hit and Capitol’s fastest-selling single to that date, and is the title of Retrospective’s generous 30-track programme packed with all his finest recordings from 1949-1957. It demonstrates that there was far more to him than just Sixteen Tons. There are fully 17 top ten smashes, headed by three more Number Ones: Mule Train, The Shotgun Boogie and his huge UK success Give Me Your Word.

Tennessee Ernie Ford: Sixteen Tons - His 30 Finest 1949-1957


One of the earliest examples of an artist crossing over from country music into the mainstream popular music scene, Tennessee Ernie's rich, deep voice is heard to full advantage on this compilation which mainly focuses on the earlier years of the selected time span. There are the two duets with Kay Starr, I'LL NEVER BE FREE and AIN'T NOBODY'S BUSINESS BUT MY OWN and one each with Helen O'Connell (HEY GOOD LOOKIN'), Ella Mae Morse (I'M HOGTIED OVER YOU) and Betty Hutton (THE HONEYMOON'S OVER). On many of the tracks Ford is backed by Cliffie Stone, (who was largely responsible for securing Ford his Capitol contract) but on SIXTEEN TONS the distinctive accompaniment is that of Jack Fascinato while on the other two big hits, RIVER OF NO RETURN and GIVE ME YOUR WORD, perhaps rather surprisingly, Billy May takes the baton. Gerry Stonestreet, June in Tune