Paradise (northern version, with thanks to John Prine)
Note: The Penokees and the propsed mine run through both Iron and Ashland counties, so the chorus can alternate between the two.
When I was a child my family would travel
Up to northern Wisconsin 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 old Iron County,
Down by the Bad River where Paradise lay.
Well, I’m sorry my son, but you’re too late in asking;
The Gogebic iron train has hauled it away.
Well, sometimes we’d travel right down the Bad River
To the abandoned old places of Penokee Hills,
Where the air smelled like rice and we’d shoot with our pistols,
But empty pop bottles was all we would kill.
Then the iron company came with the world’s largest shovel
And they tore down the timber and they stripped all the land.
Well, they dug for iron ’til the land was forsaken,
Then they wrote it all down to the progress of man.
When I die let my ashes float down the Bad River,
Let my soul roll on up to Superior land—
I’ll be halfway to Heaven when Paradise greets me
Just five miles away from wherever I am.