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Rick Robinson: Lyrics From Kentucky-Based Song at Center of Lawsuit

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.

In 1971, American folk-legend John Prine released a song entitled “Paradise” about his childhood memories of Muhlenberg County, Kentucky and the strip-mining Peabody Coal Company performed there for decades. 

“Paradise” has been covered by everybody from Johnny Cash to Jimmy Buffett and is a standard for any performer who hauls their ax to the stage during open microphone night at the local bar. 

And now after 40+ years of being irritated by “Paradise,” Peabody Coal Company is asking a judge in Cheyenne, Wyoming to strike the lyrics of the song from a pending lawsuit.

According to multiple press reports, a couple arrested for displaying a banner reading “Peabody Abandons Miners”, filed a lawsuit in federal court which opened with the words to Prine’s iconic song. A brief filed by Peabody claims the song is “irrelevant, immaterial, impertinent and/or inflammatory.”

Maybe Peabody’s lawyers can as the judge to use these words instead:

Then The Coal Company came, 

With the World’s maddest lawyers,

And they threatened the plaintiff,

And they stripped all the words.

Then they billed some more hours,

‘Til their briefs were all written,

And they wrote it all down,

As the progress of man.

Article written by Rick Robinson * Check out all of Rick's books here

Photo via Wikipedia