Written by John Prine




When I was a boy my family would travel,
Down to Western Kentucky where my parents were born,
And there's a backwards old town that is 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 Aidrie 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 till 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 waitin',
Just five miles away from wherever I am.

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