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The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia

He was on his way home from Candletop
Been two weeks gone and he thought he’d stop
At Web’s and have him a drink for he went home to her
Andy Wo-Lo said hello
He said “Hi what’s new?”
and Wo said “Sit down I got some bad news that’s gonna hurt”
Said I’m your best friend and you know that’s right
But your young bride ain’t home tonight
Since you been gone she’s been seeing that Amos boy Seth
Now he got mad and he saw red
Andy said boy don’t you lose your head
Cause to tell you the truth I’ve been with her myself

That’s the night the lights went out in Georgia
That’s the night that they hung an innocent man
Don’t trust your soul to no back woods Southern lawyer
Cause the judge in the town’s got bloodstains on his hand

Well Andy got scared and left the bar
Walking on home cause he didn’t live far you see
Andy didn’t have many friends and he just lost him one
Brother thought his wife must’ve left town
So he went home and finally found the only thing
Daddy had left him and that was a gun
He went off to Andy’s house
Slipping through the back woods quiet as a mouse
Came upon some tracks too small for Andy to make

He looked through the screen at the back porch door
He saw Andy lying on the floor
In a puddle of blood and he started to **shake**

The Georgia patrol was making their rounds
So he fired a shot just to flag ’em down
And the big bellied sheriff grabbed his gun and said
“Why’d you do it?”

The judge said guilty on a make believe trial
slapped the sheriff on the back with a smile
and said supper’s waiting at home and i gotta get to it

That’s the night the lights went out in Georgia
That’s the night that they hung an innocent man
Don’t trust your soul to no back woods Southern lawyer
Cause the judge in the town’s got bloodstains on his hands

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
And his cheatin’ wife had never left town
And that’s one body that’ll never be found
You see little sister don’t miss when she aims her gun

That’s the night the lights went out in Georgia
That’s the night that they hung an innocent man
Don’t trust your soul to no back woods Southern lawyer
Cause the judge in the town’s got bloodstains on his hand

That’s the night the lights went out in Georgia
That’s the night that they hung an innocent man
Don’t trust your soul to no back woods Southern lawyer
Cause the judge in the town’s got bloodstains on his hand

 

THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT IN GEORGIA – THE STORY

“The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” is a Southern Gothic song written by songwriter Bobby Russell and performed in 1972 by his then-wife Vicki Lawrence; Reba McEntire later covered it in 1991.

Recorded in late October 1972 and released less than two weeks later in November 1972, the song centers around the older brother of the female singer. In a sense, the song is a fast-tempo ballad, with an intricate plot for a short song.

The song was a number-one hit for Lawrence (who was then a regular on The Carol Burnett Show) on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, and also reached the top forty of Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart. The song was number one for two weeks, being succeeded by Tony Orlando and Dawn’s “Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Ole Oak Tree”.

“The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” was first offered to Cher, but her then-husband and manager Sonny Bono reportedly turned it down (he was said to be concerned that the song might offend Cher’s southern fans).[1] Note that although the song was #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, it in fact, only reached the top forty of Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart, despite having “Georgia” in the song title and despite Vicki Lawrence’s country-style presentation, in a checkerboard outfit (see album-cover image at top).

The Plot and the Message

The lyrics are narrated by a young woman telling the story of her older brother (Raymond Brody), who returns home after a two-week trip and meets his best friend (Andy Wo-lo) at Web’s bar. Andy informs him that his wife has been cheating on him with another man (“that Amos boy Seth”), and then for good measure Andy reveals that he too has been sleeping with Raymond’s wife. Raymond understandably gets upset, which scared Andy so Andy left the bar and walked home. Finding his home empty, Raymond assumes his wife left town, so he gets his gun (“the only thing Papa had left him”) and heads out to murder Andy. When he arrives there, he finds small tracks outside the house, and discovers that someone has already killed Andy. He fires his gun in the air to summon a passing sheriff, but when he is found standing over the dead body with a smoking gun, he is arrested for murder. He is wrongly convicted in a speedy (“make-believe”) trial, and hanged that night at midnight. In the final verse, the singer then reveals that it was she (“little sister”) who killed Andy, and that she also killed her promiscuous sister-in-law (“one body that’ll never be found”).

Beyond simply the typical police corruption, the song relates that the judge is just as corrupt as the officer, and also heartless, when rendering the guilty verdict: slapped the sheriff on the back with a smile, said “supper’s waiting at home and I gotta get to it”. In the music video [1] you find that the judge was also sleeping with the wife and wouldn’t listen to the truth to protect himself “Cause the judge in the town’s got bloodstains on his hand.”

Source:  Wikipedia

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