Sunday, March 29, 2020
Another Train Not Coming Back
Song 505: This week the playlist features Paradise by John Prine, who also wrote the song, and you can find a YouTube video of it by clicking on the title. After highlighting a song about a train ride 2 weeks ago, followed by a tune about a train wreck last week, this week's track rides on the sad (and true) story about how a big coal company's train carried the black diamonds away from a formerly-beautiful riverside town in KY after the company had destroyed the place. Locomotives also used to run on coal, but the real reason to feature this cut now is that the dirty coal plant which had left its burn mark on a particular heavenly spot has now closed its doors for good, so those who value the beauty of nature can celebrate its demise. I learned this piece from a fellow folkie back in the middle of the 1970s, not long after Prine released it, and I vaguely recall performing it with her at some sort of protest event. Decades ago the coal company came with the worlds largest shovel and they tortured the timber and stripped all the land. Next, they dug for their coal till the land was forsaken, then they wrote it all down as the progress of man. These days, it has become increasingly clear that genuine progress involves leaving fossil fuels behind, and this recent plant closure represents a significant step in the right direction.