Merle Travis – Nine Pound Hammer
“Nine Pound Hammer” is a 1946 recording from guitar virtuoso Merle Travis. Released on 78rpm on Capitol Records in 1947, Travis recomposed the song using elements from several traditional folk songs, including “Take This Hammer” and “John Henry”. Merle Travis’ fingerpicking version of the song has influenced many covers of “Nine Pound Hammer”, especially in the second half of the 20th Century.
Al Hopkins and The Buckle Busters 1927
(First recording on May 13, 1927)
“Tennessee” Ernie Ford March 5, 1956
Hank Thompson September 1961
Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys June 1962
The Osborne Brothers July 1969
John Prine 1973
Jerry Reed August 1979
Lesley Schatz 1994
orma Kaukonen November 17, 1998
Laura Brooke 2007
Frank Fairfield May 21, 2009
Merle Travis – Nine Pound Hammer Lyrics
This nine pound hammer, it’s a little too heavy
For my size, baby, for my size
I’m goin’ on the mountain, gonna see my baby
But I ain’t comin’ back, well, I ain’t comin’ back
Roll on buddy, don’t you roll so slow
Tell me, how can I roll, when the wheels won’t go?
Roll on buddy, pull a load of coal
Now, how can I pull, when wheels won’t roll?
It’s a long way to Harlan, it’s a long way to Hazard
Just to get a little brew, just to get a little brew
Well, when I’m long gone you can make my tombstone
Outta number nine coal, outta number nine coal
Hey, roll on buddy, don’t you roll so slow
How can I roll, when the wheels won’t go?
Roll on buddy, pull your load of coal
Tell me, how can I pull, when wheels won’t roll?