Questions Raised By ‘The Devil Went Down to Georgia’

Who does the Devil answer to?

So the Devil goes down to Georgia because he was in a bind, and way behind. My assumption is that the Devil most have some sort of soul-stealing quota. From the lyrics it is unclear if this is a monthly, quarterly, or yearly quota. All we know is that he was behind and this is why he approached Johnny for this fiddle duel.

Who is keeping track? What happens if the Devil doesn’t meet his quota? Is this some sort of personal list he keeps and the Devil will feel bad about himself should he not meet the quota?

Will all hell break loose?

Is there some Grand Poobah of Hell above (below?) the Devil that would be super pissed? Would the Devil be put on some kind if performance improvement plan if he didn’t reach the quota. Were bonuses at stake? Commissions? What kind of capitalistic bullshit is going on down in Hell?

If you extrapolate this even further, does the Devil even have the authority to make this deal with Johnny? Should he have called his manager to make sure it was okay? Or maybe he has the authority to manifest golden fiddles when his soul quota is in jeopardy.

And so, I wonder, is the deal the bet? And if so why the golden fiddle reward? I mean, if you were the sort that believes in the soul-stealing devils wouldn’t keeping your soul be reward enough? What’s the Devil thinking? He should have been all, play fool or I will eat the very essence of your being before the chickens get done with that bread dough. You hear me?

Johnny, isn’t pride also a sin?

In fact, if I recall correctly, pride is a one of the seven big’uns. I don’t see gambling or dare-taking on that list, though depending on the stakes I guess it could fall under Greed. And yet, Mr. It Might Be a Sin follows up that line with cocking off about how he’s “the best that’s ever been.” I’m pretty sure Ol’ Johnny knows dick about religion and the bible or whatever. Because isn’t pride goeth before the fall in the bible? If not, it should be. Also, if the Devil did manifest himself on a tree stump in the middle of some backwoods hootenanny, wouldn’t Christians be shitting themselves? Perhaps Johnny is a bigger bullshitter than this namby-pamby quota-filling Devil.

And about this fiddle made of gold

If Johnny were smart he’d ask if this was a gold fiddle like, a sold-chocolate bunny you get at Easter. Or one of those bullshit hollow chocolate rip offs. These things matter.

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  1. Doug 19.Nov.13 at 4:22 pm

    Look, it took me long enough to figure out the last line of the chorus was “Granny, does your dog bite? ‘No, child, no.'”–and not have any idea what that had to do with any of the song’s themes.

    I’m guessing this soul-stealer was a mere demon, not Satan himself. However, the metre of the line didn’t allow for all that exposition.

    Just a theory.

    1. Jodi 19.Nov.13 at 4:25 pm

      Did you know that the Granny line is in reference to some old bluegrass folk tune? It is! And I believe so is the fiddling that follows it.

      Also, I would listen to a song called “Low-Level Satanic Functionary Went Down to Georgia.”

  2. Doug 21.Nov.13 at 3:11 pm

    NOW you tell Charlie Daniels…


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