John Prine - Paradise

First performance: 12/11/1988


Coverinfo

Bruce covered the song only once:
 
1988-11-12 - TARRYTOWN MUSIC HALL, TARRYTOWN, NY

Bruce guests with John Prine. The singer/songwriter was present when Springsteen met Bob Dylan at his Rolling Thunder Review gig in New Haven, CT on November 13, 1975. Springsteen then, accompanied by girlfriend Karen Darvin attends Bob Dylan's Rolling Thunder Revue gig (which included Joni Mitchell's debut in the troupe). The Rolling Thunder Tour had begun on October 31. Also attending (like Bruce, as viewers only) were Patti Smith and John Prine. Dylan's film crew was present and shooting backstage, but no footage of Springsteen has ever surfaced. 
 
 
 

Songinfo

"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 now operates 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; TVA has converted two of the three units at Paradise to gas, and wants to do likewise with the third.
 
 
 

Bruce on the artist

Bruce contibutes on the song Take A Look At My Heart  
 
1988-11-12 - TARRYTOWN MUSIC HALL, TARRYTOWN, NY 
Bruce guests only once with John Prine. The singer/songwriter was present when Springsteen met Bob Dylan at his Rolling Thunder Review gig in New Haven, CT on November 13, 1975 and performed Paradise.
 
 
 

Lyrics

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
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