|16 Toneladas (Sixteen Tons) performed by Noriel Vilela ()|
This, friends, is the swingingest and most bizarre version of this chestnut you will ever hear. Having recently left the Cantores De Ebano (Ebony Singers), sort of a 60s Brazilian version of Sounds Of Blackness, Noriel Vilela, possessor of an impossibly deep, rumbling basso profundo capable of blowing your speakers, embarked on a brief yet fondly-remembered solo career. This witty reworking of the Tennessee Ernie Ford original replaces the country-western-pop of the original with a rollicking samba-rock rhythm and Portuguese lyrics extolling how much fun samba is, sung by a voice from deep in the crypt that swings like crazy. It stops everybody who hears it dead in their tracks and is the guaranteed highlight of any party. What Messrs. Ford and Travis would have made of it is anybody's guess, but this version refuses to die, having recently become a hit in Brazil all over again, 30 years after its first release. I've heard many, many versions of "Sixteen Tons," but believe me, this one truly runs away with the prize!!