November 23, 2007

More on Those Lights Going Out in Georgia . . .

I still love this song. I suppose I should download Reba's version on iTunes, and then I can hear it back-to-back with Vicki's on my iPod.

But of course I've never been able to figure out the time frame involved in the story: it starts in the evening, when Andy and his friend are having a drink at the bar, and in that same evening Andy gets killed, Dear Brother is arrested, a trial occurs, and the Sheriff/Judge still get home in time for supper.

It seem to me that unless there's a time machine involved, there had to be two nights which, cumulatively, led to the lights going out in Georgia (or at least—metaphorically—for the narrator's brother).

Which is better for the story arc, but not as good for the scanning of the lines in the chorus:

Those were the two nights that culminated in the lights going out in Georgia,
On the second of which they hung an innocent man,
So don't trust your soul—or, at least, the physical part of your being—to no backwoods Southern lawyer,
'Cause the Judge in the town has been corrupt and sloppy in the past, and after this incident he had blood on his hands, though not really in the same sense as Lady MacBeth did, and these ones might someday wash out.

Andyway, here are Vicki and Reba talking about the song—and then singing Reba's version. Reba has a better accent for it, and she does fabulous things with her eyes. On the other hand, she does flub the lyrics slightly.

Video clip via Janette.

Posted by Attila Girl at November 23, 2007 03:01 PM | TrackBack

Great song, I haven't heard or thought about this one for a while. One of my favorites growing up. Other songs I enjoyed that were similar were "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" by Cher and "Ode To Billy Joe" by I think Bobbie Gentry. Thanks for reminding me of some of the classics. If you don't mind, I'd like to link this post from my blog.

Posted by: Dieter at November 23, 2007 07:38 PM

That's fine. BTW, I did download Reba's version of "Night . . . Georgia," and listen to that one. Someone told me that McIntyre "popularized" the song, but Vicki's version went to #1 in the early 1970s, so I think Reba just took it to a new audience (iTunes classifies Reba's as "country," and Vicki Lawrence's as "pop").

The way I got the story, someone sent the song to Cher, but Sonny turned it down on her behalf, thinking it might be offensive to Southerners. Cher only heard later (apparently) that she'd been offered the song.

I love those old Cher songs--"Gypsies" is great. I also like "Half Breed." Both very guilty pleasures.

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 23, 2007 08:07 PM

Wow, talk about songs bringing back memories! I loved "Nights", "Gypsies" and "Half Breed" when I was little. Add "Delta Dawn" by Tanya Tucker to the mix and I think you've covered my entire repertoire as a kid.

Hm, come to think of it, later as a teenager I was really into Southern Gothic fiction. I think we've found a theme - not sure that it's a particularly good one. ;-)

Posted by: Janette at November 24, 2007 07:28 AM

I was more familiar with Helen Reddy's version of "Delta Dawn." And I also loved her "Angie Baby."

She used to drive around here in a huge red boat of a 1970s semi-low-rider convertible, with a license plate that read "IM REDDY." I saw it in front of a liquor store once, but I didn't go in to look for her, 'cause I don't gawk at people.

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 24, 2007 01:51 PM

The night of the hanging was the night the lights went out. The night of the murder was kind of like the night they switched to compact flourescent bulbs. If they would have had them in 1973, that is. I like to think of that as the real reason she didn't come forward sooner to save her brother.

I really loved "Take The Ribbon From My Hair" by Lynn Anderson. Some people know it as "Help Me Make It Through The Night."

Take the ribbon from My hair
Shake it loose and let it fall
Lay it soft upon my skin
Like the shadows on the wall

Come and lay down by my side
Till the early morning rides
All I'm taking is your time
Help me make it through the night

I don't care what's right or wrong
And I don't try to understand
Let the devil take tomorrow
But tonite I need a friend

Yesterday is dead and gone
And tomorrows out of sight
And it's sad to be alone
Help me make it through the night

And it's sad to be alone
Help me make it through the night
Oh I don't wanna be alone
Help me make it through the night

Posted by: Darrell at November 24, 2007 02:26 PM

Reminds me of "Put Your Ring on a Different Finger," by Elvis Costello (one of his psuedo-Country songs).

Posted by: Attila Girl at November 24, 2007 04:29 PM

I never considered it a song about cheating. Extramarital? Yes. Not caring to verify marital status? Yes. A pioneering song for a more innocent time.

Posted by: Darrell at November 25, 2007 07:25 AM

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