Why "The Devil Came Down to Georgia" Is a Stupid Song
The Devil, for some reason, is in Georgia. His job is collecting souls and he's ‘in a bind ‘cos he's way behind' so he's willing to take ‘make a deal.' Well, right here, I think Charlie Daniels is full of it. Way behind? Behind what? The Devil's the boss. Any production schedules are under his control and subject to change at his whim. It's not like the Devil has a board of directors he has to answer to- he's Satan.
But, for arguments sake, let's just accept the Devil is looking to make a deal because for some reason he's behind on some nonsensical quota. What's he doing in a rural area? Wouldn't he go to a city- especially if he needs to steal souls in bulk? It makes no sense as a strategy.
So, the Devil finds a kid in the middle of nowhere, outside, presumably at night- all alone. And this kid is playing a fiddle. I've travelled a lot- and I've never seen anything like that. What's that kid doing there? Is he some sort of weird, lazy prodigy who tries to get passers-by to hang around long enough for him to crank out a tune for a nickel? And are we to believe the greatest fiddle player who ever lived can't get a gig somewhere? Why's he standing next to some road in the middle of Georgia? Shouldn't he be playing at the Grand ‘Ol Opry or something?
But no matter the boy's presence makes no sense- we'll go along. So the Devil finds this guy and makes the bet. They'll have a fiddle-off. If the kid wins, he gets a fiddle made of gold, if he loses- he has to give up his soul- forever.
So let's do some quick cost/benefit analysis. Since the song doesn't name dates- we'll use today's prices. Let's say the gold fiddle weighs 2 pounds (keep in mind a fiddle is hollow). At the current worth- which is at a historical high- gold is $1160.90 an ounce. 2 pounds is 32 ounces which values the fiddle at $37,148.80. That's it- 37 grand. That's a nice chunk of change– it'll buy you a nice pick-up with money left over for those behind the seat DVD players for the kiddees.
But would you really trade your soul for a pick-up truck? Because eternity lasts, as we all know, forever- and that's a mighty long time, and there's something else... aftermarket value. Can you imagine how hard it would be to sell the Devil's gold fiddle- an item that is, by definition, cursed? I guess he could melt it down and make a bar out of it- a single lousy gold bar. Ridiculous. If you measure it against eternity- the fiddle is effectively worthless. The kid would've been better off rejecting the deal, realizing he was good enough to leave the side of the road in the middle of nowhere and get himself a record deal. But that doesn't happen either.
Instead, the kid takes the bet and he has his little competition with the Devil. And according to the story- the kid wins.
Okay, here's where, for me, I have to put my foot down. It says the Devil knows he's beat, that the kid is better. Assuming the Devil's a righteous man- he would bow his head and admit defeat. But the Devil isn't a righteous man- he's not even a man- he's a metaphysical force of pure evil. And we're to believe evil incarnate would admit he lost? How dumb do you have to be to believe that? It's not like they negotiated for an objective jury- the Devil would just say, ‘Hey buddy, you were okay- but I was better' and rip that kid's soul out of his chest or head or wherever the soul's supposed to be kept.
So the real moral of the story is simple: Don't hire country singers if you want narrative cohesion.