"The Devil Went Down to Georgia" - Who was better: Johnny or the Devil?

In this song about dueling fiddlers, one being the Devil and the other being Johnny, who was the better player?

The Devil’s Entry

Johnny’s Submission

Prize: One (1) fiddle made of gold.

Public poll, as always…

Since even the Devil conceded, Johnny.

Jonny’s is longer, has way more variability, showcases more skill, bridges the traditional with the modern, and is performed without a backup band. Its really not even a contest.

That’s not absolutely true, the Devil is showcasing some skill, not the least of which is the ability to get decent sound out of an instrument crafted of metal. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9uk9IcoQ0w (Note: I don’t do YouTube, so this is a Google result, apologies if this is a bad link in some way, I honestly don’t know.)

At any rate, this is really a metaphor for the incursion of modern music into traditional music. Disco in Charlie Daniels day, heavy metal in Primus’s version.

Just like “Rock the Casaba” is a metaphor for slavish devotion to one form of music, likening it to religious fundamentalism. and the temple band took five, the crowd caught a whiff, of that crazy casaba jive

Interestingly, the poll stands at 7-4, hardly the runaway I’d have expected. It’d be interesting to hear from some of the devil’s advocates to learn their reasons.

Haven’t listened to it in a while, but I know my past “preference” was for the Devil’s.

My wife fiddles, and I play bluegrass w/ a bunch of pretty decent fiddlers. I’ll ask their opinions (likely next weekend) and check back in.

I’m no judge of technical fiddle (or any other musical instrument, for that matter) expertise, but I’ve heard plenty of fiddle pieces that sounded a lot like Johnny’s, but few if any that sounded like the Devil’s. So I think of Johnny’s playing as good but commonplace. Can’t beat the Devil with that.

The Devil - no contest.

Taken as a whole and not just viewing the fiddle part, the devil’s has a groovy, driving bass line and some some solid guitar work. And while it might be argued that using the Band of Demons as his back-up band might be cheating, it’s the devil for chrissake, what did you expect?

“Casaba”? :confused::smiley:

They often played Melon Collie Baby. :smiley:

I think he meant cabasa. Virtuoso cabasa players are rare and valuable.

The Devil was far more versatile than Johnny. Not to run down Daniels’ playing, but he’s no Mark O’Connor (who played the Prince of Darkness’ part).

Once upon a time the Devil went down to Georgia and lost a fierce duel with Johnny, the Great Fiddle Master. Now, the Devil is back!

Johnny cheated as well by writing lyrics and singing. So, offsetting penalties - the play stands.

Yes, but the lyrics and singing he still did himself. It was a contest between him and the Devil. Bringing in others to help wasn’t part of the deal.

Well, my son, The Devil won, but not the way you said.
See, Johnny’s loss, it was, of course, the fact he’d took the bet.
The sin of pride, you can’t deny, was clear in Johnny’s choice.
Ol’ Johnny lost the moment that his fiddle raised its voice.

The devil by wont of actually being coherent!

Why in the hell is there a chicken in a bread pan? And just so you know, I was born and raised in Georgia, my grandparents were sharecroppers. Johnny is a goddamned liar!

It was pickin’ out dough. Just like it says in the song.

I’m not a fiddle expert, but as other(s) have said. The devil’s entry sounds different and interesting. Johnny sounds like good fiddle playing.

And yeah my dad and I were once talking about the fact that Johnny taking the bet seems like a really serious sin. Not just of pride, but to bet your soul (the most precious of God’s gifts) for mere gold seems like the sort of thing that God would not find amusing.

One thing that’s impressed me about Charlie Daniels is he’s not afraid to share the stage with fiddlers/violinists who have better chops. HOWEVER, Mark O’Connor played on the sequel, The Devil Comes Back to Georgia, not the original.

And of course, Granny’s dog doesn’t bite.
Ow! Dammit Granny, you said your dog doesn’t bite.*

*T’aint my dog. That dog there somebody else’s.
And sorry I went with the autocorrect. I should have just Googled “Rock the Casbah” and cut-n-paste.