THIRTY-NINE QUESTIONS FOR CHARLIE DANIELS
"The Devil Went
Down to Georgia"
for the First Time
in 25 Years.
BY JOHN MOE
- - - -
1. The Devil won that fiddling contest, right?
2. Because isn't that totally amazing fiddle feedback
thing the Devil plays (which sounds like Hendrix gone
bluegrass) a hundred times better than that
high-school-band piece-of-crap tune Johnny plays?
3. I mean, come on, right?
4. And since the Devil is so clearly better, why does
he lay the golden fiddle on the ground at Johnny's
5. What kind of one-sided bet was that anyway, your
eternal soul for a fiddle?
6. Shouldn't it have been something like Johnny's soul
or the eradication of Evil?
7. Or maybe a golden fiddle against some object Johnny
placed great value upon?
8. If the Devil went down to Georgia 'cause he was
looking for a soul to steal, why does he arrange what
appears to be an honest competition?
9. Was there actually some hidden theft or scam going
on here on the part of the Devil?
10. Then why not explain that, Mr. Daniels?
11. And who was judging that contest?
12. Was it an honor-system kind of thing?
13. With the Devil?
14. Honor system with the Devil. How did Johnny get
sucked into that one?
15. Does Johnny suffer from some—I'm trying to be
delicate here—cognitive disabilities?
16. Was there some sort of arbitration board in place
in the event that the outcome was not obvious?
17. If so, who served on this board?
18. It wasn't the demons, was it?
19. 'Cause even though they're the only characters in
the song, they're kind of biased since they're in the
Devil's band and they're demons, right?
20. So why—why—does the Devil take the dive and throw
21. I mean, the Devil can't be hurting for cash. How
much is it going to cost him to buy a new golden
22. I'm thinking maybe $18,000. Does that sound right
23. If you're Johnny, what do you even want with a
24. Doesn't the metallic surface of a golden fiddle
create an unpalatably tinny sound as opposed to the
nice resonant sound on a wooden instrument?
25. Does he think he's going to display it in his home
and tell people the story of how he beat the Devil?
26. Who's going to believe that?
27. Or does he try to sell the fiddle?
28. If so, how does he go about getting something like
29. Or does he just melt it all down for the gold?
30. That sounds awfully hard, don't you think?
31. And is Johnny haunted by the question of why the
Devil let him win like that?
32. Was there some catch in the contest that Johnny
wasn't aware of where the Devil really does get his
soul anyway and Johnny didn't notice it because he's
not all that smart?
33. And even if he didn't get Johnny's soul, what is
Johnny going to say to God in heaven when he has to
explain that he bet his soul, the essence of life,
God's one true gift, on a fiddle contest?
34. Johnny knows deep down that he's not really the
best that's ever been and that's the source of his
insecure boasting, right?
35. Was it really necessary or wise to invite the
Devil to come on back if he ever wants to try again?
36. 'Cause what does Johnny need, a second golden
37. Or maybe a golden viola the next time?
38. Why would the Devil need an invitation?
39. Are you implying, Mr. Daniels, that Johnny
actually wants to get hustled?