Wednesday, December 31, 2008


(Song begins at 1:08)
By John Prine
Rise Up Singing chapter: Mountain Voices, p.149
D - G D / - - A D ://

Paradise was an actual town in Kentucky, demolished because of strip mining operations (pictures, facts), although it seems the actual site wasn't stripped, but is now occupied by a coal-fired electric plant (source). Peabody Coal Co. is also real and is now known as Peabody Energy Corporation. Their website boasts "We are the world's largest coal company".


When I was a child my family would travel
Down to western Kentucky where my parents were born
And there's a backwoods old town that's often remembered
So many times that my memories are worn

And Daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County
Down by the Green River where Paradise lay?
Well I'm sorry my son but you're too late in asking
Mr. Peabody's coal train has hauled it away

Well sometimes we'd travel right down the Green River
To the abandoned old prison down by Adrie Hill
Where the air smelled like snakes and we'd shoot with our pistols
But empty pop bottles was all we would kill

Then the coal company came with the world's largest shovel
And they tortured the timber and stripped all the land
Well they dug for their coal 'til the land was forsaken
Then they wrote it all down as the progress of man

When I die let my ashes float down the Green River
Let my soul roll on up to the Rochester Dam
I'll be halfway to heaven with Paradise waiting
Just five miles away from wherever I am

No comments:

Post a Comment