Paradise….. a folk song
Commonly associated with folk lore, folk music is known for story telling. Originating in popular culture, folk songs are passed down from generation to generation, often with words or their meaning changing in the retelling. Historically these songs were transmitted orally and learned by singing with others. That changed in the 1930s with electrical music recording, record players and radios.
The Oklahoma dust bowl followed by the Great Depression left thousands of Americans in desperate conditions. Folk singers Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger wrote songs to bring hope to the disenfranchised. They traveled the country singing in union halls, at rallies and political gatherings. Besides personal appearances radio airwaves provided a forum for their controversial social commentary and criticism.
In 1960s America the momentum of social activism promoting concepts of peace and notions of equal rights gave rise to a new generation of folk singers and protest songs. Civil liberties, civil rights, women’s rights, economic injustice, politics and war were popular subjects for protest songs. They were effective in drawing people together and inspiring them to take action or reflect.
Every now and then a song comes along that has a lasting impact on our perspective. The first folk song I remember that addressed environmental concerns was like that. I have kept it close in my memories and recall it often.
Paradise…..by John Prine