Jeff Beck and ZZ Top are on tour, and last week’s encore in LA was recorded. The song 16 Tons is one of the enduring country chestnuts first recorded by Merle Travis in 1946 which became a hit for Tennessee Ernie Ford in 1955. It’s one of those songs I bang out on the guitar, singing along, in my living room, and that’s the approach the boys took last week. Until the guitar solos.
Here’s the original Merle Travis version. A lighter touch, for sure, and he explains how the whole company store thing worked.
Which led me to this version, with Billy Gibbons singing in front of Jeff Beck’s band. Much better sound and way more engaged vocals than the Beck with ZZ Top.