The Louisville and Nashville railroad ran close to a young Jean Ritchie’s home in Kentucky. She wrote this song as a reflection on the hard times that communities face when industries decline.

L&N Don’t Stop Here Anymore

 

When I was a curly headed baby
My father sat me down on his knee
Son you go to schooland learn your letters
Now, don’t you be no dusty miner, boy, like me

Chorus

 

I was born and raised at the mouth of the Hazzard Holler
Where the dust cars rolled and rumbled past my door
Now they stand in a rusty row of all empties
And the L&N don’t stop here anymore

Chorus

 

I used to think my father was a black man
With scrip enough to buy the company store
But now he goes to work with empty pockets
And  his face is white as the February snow

Chorus
 

Never thought I’d live to learn to love the coal dust
Never thought I’d pray to hear that whistle roar
But lord I wish that the grass would turn to money
And then those greenbacks would fill my pockets once more

Chorus

 

Last night I dreamed I went down to the office
To get my pay there like I done before
But them old kudzu vines were covering over the doorway
And there was leaves and grass growing right up to the floor

Chorus

 

When I was a curly headed baby
My father sat me down on his knee
Son you go to schooland learn your letters
Now, don’t you be no dusty miner, boy, like me
Chorus

Jean Ritchie