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Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia November 11, 2012

Posted by Mitchell in Music.
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For some reason this song started playing in my head, over and over and over again. It’s a catchy tune, but I have to admit it’s always confused the hell out of me. There’s something about it that just doesn’t make sense. Oh and this is the original Vicky Lawrence one. I understand Reba somebodyorwhatever did a cover of it too. I never heard hers.

As a side-note, something odd happened in the recording studios in the late 60’s to early 70’s: producers grabbed anybody who had ever done anything in front of a TV camera, shoved a mic in front of their face and told him or her to sing. Some of them did surprisingly well – the aforementioned Mrs. Lawrence for one, Goldie Hawn for another. Others…not so well. It was probably the drugs. I mean, what else would explain THIS? Anyway…

Let’s unpack this sucker and see if we can’t get to the bottom of what exactly happened one fateful night in Georgia when the power in the entire state got snafu’d:

He was on his way home from Candletop  [We never find out who He was, hereinafter I’ll call him Hubby]
He’d been two weeks gone and he thought he’d stop [Two weeks, quite the trip]
At Webb’s and have him a drink before he went home to her [Ah, Her. We’ll call Her Wifey]
Andy Willow said hello, and he said “Hi, what’s doin’, Wo?”
He said “Sit down, I got some bad news — it’s gonna hurt.” [Uh oh. That doesn’t sound good]
He said, “I’m your best friend and you know that’s right,
“But your young bride ain’t home tonight
“Since you’ve been gone she’s been seeing that Amos boy, Seth.” [The bitch! Wifey’s been stepping around!]
Well he got mad and he saw red, and Andy said, “Boy don’t you lose your head
‘Cause to tell ya the truth, I’ve been with her myself.” [WTF? “Best friend” indeed. Wifey’s turned out to be quite the skank eh?]

When just listening to this song some stuff can get confusing, particularly the Andy / and he thing. It’s not always obvious who is being referred to.

CHORUS
That’s the night the lights went out in Georgia. [Quite the power outage. I wonder what caused it?]
That’s the night that they hung an innocent man. [This must have been quite some time ago. When did they stop hanging people?]
Well don’t trust your soul to no backwoods Southern lawyer, [Good advice, for soul-related matters see your minister, preist or rabbi]
‘Cause the judge in the town’s got bloodstains on his hands. [Say what? I know it’s Georgia and all, but come on. Hygiene, people!]

Well Andy got scared and left the bar [Telling your “friend” that you slept with his wife will make things awkward for sure.]
Walkin’ on home cause he didn’t live far
See, Andy didn’t have many friends and he had just lost him one. [Gee, I wonder why]
Brother thought his wife must’ve left town, [Brother? Oh Hubby. OK, now we establish the narrator has a relationship to one of the people involved. But why would he think she’d left town? Did Andy tell her that he was going to spill the beans?]
So he went home and finally found the only thing Papa had left him and that was a gun. [Hubby has a gun & a motive to use it. This won’t end well.]

And he went off to Andy’s house, slipping through the backwoods quiet as a mouse, [He’s coming for ya Andy!]
Came upon some tracks too small for Andy to make. [Somebody else is out here. I wonder who?]
He looked through the screen at the backporch door,
And he saw Andy lying on the floor in a puddle of blood, and he started to shake [Somebody got to him first! Dang, a REALLY unpopular guy. Also note Andy / and he issue.]

Well the Georgia patrol was a makin’ their rounds [Police are here! They’ll get to the bottom of this!]
So he fired a shot just to flag them down [Um, no. That was a mistake I think. Should’ve waved or something.]
And the big-bellied sheriff grabbed his gun and said “Why’d you do it?” [Well, sure it LOOKS bad but jump to conclusions much? I’m sure all this will get worked out. The ballistics report alone will prove that Hubby’s gun wasn’t used to kill Andy. ]

Well the judge said “Guilty” in a make believe trial [Oh. Damn. No ballistics report?
Slapped the sheriff on the back with a smile, said
“Supper’s waitin’ at home and I got to get to it.” [Nutrition is important…I guess. Wait, how long did this trial go?

That’s the night the lights went out in Georgia. [So, all this in the same night? Really?]
That’s the night that they hung an innocent man. [They EXECUTED the guy in the same night?? Wow. No appeal?]
Well don’t trust your soul to no backwoods Southern lawyer, [This guy has to be the worst criminal defense attorney EVER!]
‘Cause the judge in the town’s got bloodstains on his hands. [So, now we come to understand the Judge is mixed up in this whole thing somehow. Was Wifey banging him too? Does this mean the Judge made the hit on Andy? Hmm. I dunno. The Judge and Fat-bellied Sheriff seem really chummy. It may have been no coincident that the Georgia patrol happened to be in the area that night. Anyway it looks like Hubby set himself up as the perfect fall-guy that’s for sure. ]

Now they hung my brother before I could say
The tracks he saw while on his way to Andy’s house and back that night were mine. [Huh. Hubby’s sister was skulking out in those woods too eh? There sure was a bunch of people stomping around back there that night. It’s a miracle they didn’t all bump into each other at some point.]
His cheatin’ wife had never left town. [No? Then where is she at?]
And that’s one body that’ll never be found. [Oh. Dear. Another body.]
See, little sister doesn’t miss when she aims her gun. [Sister’s got your back on the revenge-side bro!]

That’s the night the lights went out in Georgia. [Yep. It alllll happened in the same night.]
That’s the night that they hung an innocent man. [Is he REALLY innocent though? Sure Hubby didn’t actually pull the trigger, but he WAS at Andy’s house with a gun. I don’t think he was going to give it to him as a present, I’m just saying.]
Well don’t trust your soul to no backwoods Southern lawyer, [This guy was beyond incompetent. It’s almost as if Backwoods Southern Lawyer *wanted* his client to swing. Yeah, he was probably in on it too. What a conspiracy! Hell, he was probably doing Wifey too.]
‘Cause the judge in the town’s got bloodstains on his hands. [Dammit, we never quite find out how though. I guess we never will.]

It sure seems like the knowledge that Andy spilled the beans to Hubby got around REALLY fast and everybody was pretty down on Andy. I’d think that once Hubby found out about all these affairs that divorce would come pretty quickly. Then (ex)Wifey would be available without all the sneaking around. Perhaps she was one of those people who get off on the sneaking around thing and would no longer be interested if that wasn’t part of the deal. I’m just spit-balling here, I’m not a psychologist or anything. One thing’s for sure, the big Poon-train in that section of Georgia sure came to a screeching halt.

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Comments

1. Steamboat McGoo - November 12, 2012

I always thought it was the “sister” telling the story about her brothers’ wife’s infidelity, the Sis’ response, and a miscarriage of justice that was inadvertently her fault – and the judge’s.

Personally, I still wonder more about what the fiddly-f*** was thrown from the Tallahassee bridge. Ring? Aborted fetus? Body?

Mitchell - November 13, 2012

Hm. So Little Sister pulled a double-homicide? Ehh, I dunno. The phrase “blood on his hands” isn’t normally used with an inadvertent death. Usually it means deliberate, malicious involvement in murder. Remember the timing in the song! The “make-believe trial” is being run by a judge who already *has* the blood-stained hands.

No, I’d have to say the judge is definitely either Andy’s murderer or (more likely) the guy who ordered the hit.

Mitchell - November 13, 2012

AHA!!! I’VE GOT IT! Follow me with this now. Andy was sleeping with Wifey. He also knew of *other* guys she was with too (Seth Amos for one). The judge WAS also sleeping with her and he either suspected or knew that Andy knew that as well. The judge is married (“Supper’s waiting at home and I’ve gotta get to it”) So Andy has dangerous blackmail material on him at least, possibly others (hello Sheriff!). Suddenly Andy drops the dime on Wifey and starts naming others too. This is a disaster! All sorts of ugly things can come out in a divorce! Andy has to go. And now I think I know who trigger-man was…or should I say trigger-WOMAN!?

Dun! Dun! DUUUUNNNN!! No, not Little Sister – Wifey! News of what Andy did spread fast. The judge tells Wifey that she has to shut Andy down. Little Sister went to Andy’s to give him a piece of her mind but saw Wifey kill him instead. Then she ran off. We know the rest: arrest, trial, conviction and execution of the Perfect Patsy who just dropped in their lap. Little Sister learns what happened too late and she *knows* who the real murderer is. She avenges her brother and hides the body. That’s it! All the pieces fit!

Now…what WERE they throwing off that bridge??

2. Steamboat McGoo - November 13, 2012

You got it! I had it a bit wrong too.

“Little sister don’t miss when she aims her gun!”

RE: Tallahassee bridge:

I think it was another member of the O’Buttboy administration. No bus was available….


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