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Paradise

John Prine
Language: English


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Album John Prine

Notable covers: Jackie DeShannon, John Denver, Johnny Cash

Paradise Fossil Plant
Paradise Fossil Plant


"Paradise" is a song written by John Prine for his father, and recorded for his 1971 debut album, John Prine. Prine also re-recorded the song for his 1986 album, German Afternoons.

The song is about the devastating impact of strip mining for coal, whereby the top layers of soil are blasted off with dynamite or dug away with steam shovels to reach the coal seam below. The song is also about what happened to the area around the Green River in Kentucky because of strip mining. The song references the Peabody Coal Company, and a town called Paradise in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, where the Tennessee Valley Authority operated the Paradise Fossil Plant, a coal-fired electric generating station.

The area has suffered serious economic downturn because of the decline of coal mining, caused mainly by the abundance of natural gas. Paradise Fossil Plant Units 1 and 2 went on-line in 1963 and were retired in 2017; Unit 3 went on-line in 1970 and was retired in 2020. In the song Prine asks to have his ashes dispersed on the Green River. After his death in 2020 this wish was fulfilled. [1] TVA replaced the Fossil Plant with the natural-gas fired Paradise Combined Cycle Plant.

Paradise (John Prine song) - Wikipedia
When I was a child my family would travel
Down to Western Kentucky where my parents were born
And there's a backwards 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
Mister 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 Airdrie Hill
Where the air smelled like snakes and we'd shoot with our pistols
But empty pop bottles was all we would kill

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
Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away

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 till the land was forsaken
Then they wrote it all down as the progress of man

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
Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away

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 waitin'
Just five miles away from wherever I am

Contributed by L. E. - 2020/5/19 - 23:31



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