The Night the Lights Went out in Georgia question

30 years after first hearing this song, I finally got around to reading the lyrics and it struck me- Vicki Lawrence allowed her brother to be convicted for a crime she committed- what kind of bullshit is that? I see the part about the make-believe trial and all, but I am quite sure she could have gotten him off by telling them things about the crime no one else could know, producing the girls body, etc. She loves her brother so much she will kill for him, but will let him hang for a crime she committed? Did he even care about the wife enough? What gives?

I always thought she hated her brother (but didn’t say so in the song) and was framing him for the murder, while getting rid of the brother’s wife she didn’t want in her life anymore.

And Vicki Lawrence always looked so sweet and friendly on the Carol Burnett Show, too …

There’s a lot about that song I don’t quite get, but I’m pretty sure she didn’t have time to confess before they hung the brother. What I don’t get is her motivation for killing the guy that got killed.

I always thought that they hung him that night. Before she even knew.

I await the sequel to the song where little sister takes out the judge and sheriff.

I guess it was to kill his cheating wife and every guy she was cheating with.

I guess Vicki never heard of minding her own B - I business.

Fern Forest, thanks- I must have glossed over those lines when reading the lyrics :rolleyes: Your assessment is solid, it assumes she would have owned up to it, but didn’t have a chance, which makes sense.

Well, yeah, but is she really going to cop to Murder One and get *herself * hanged instead? Does anyone love their brother that much, especially someone capable of planning and carrying out a murder for no better reason than being offended over adultery? Even after the hanging, she isn’t doing squat to restore a beloved brother’s good name. Of course, this could be a deathbed confession and she no longer faces real consequences anyway.

Those lines can also mean Vicki is trying to hide her true motivations from the listener, pretending to take responsibility when she really wishes to avoid it.

Evidently Vicki killed the guy because you just don’t pull that kind of crap on her family members and get away with it.

I always figured she was just hoping the crime would go unsolved, but then the law in those parts decided to just hang the guy with the motive, and her brother was dead before she could do anything to stop it.

She shoulda brushed out those tracks, then.

Well, if she shoots the sheriff, I hope she will not shoot the dep-u-ty. :smiley:

After thinking about it, just how quick was this trial and hanging- that same night? How could this have all been done before Vicki “could say” - was she out of town? I had heard small southern towns back then had interesting ways of doling out justice, but geez!

She shot the sheriff. But she did not shoot the deputy.
She shot the sheriff. But she swore it was in self-defense.

At this point, you guys have given way more thought to the song than the writer ever did. Take a break, and go drink boilermakers until you’ve forgotten the song ever existed. Despite the hangover, you’ll still feel better.

Was any version of the song ever that he was killed in the electric chair? Because the lights going out makes more sense that way.

I listened to the song several times before this little tidbit hit me:

“He was on his way home from Candletop
Been two weeks gone and he thought he’d stop
At William’s and have him a drink 'fore he went home to her.”

TWO WEEKS gone, and the FIRST thing he does is stop at a bar? Maybe that’s the reason she was running around! No, I don’t really think that’s an excuse for cheating, but damn, if my hubby had been gone for two weeks and couldn’t even make it home before he stopped off for a beer, I’d find that more than a little upsetting! Of course, maybe she was the type of woman that a man didn’t want to rush home to, which would indicate that her cheating ways weren’t exactly unknown to him in the first place! And hey, he was on his way to kill the guy, so he wasn’t exactly as innocent as a lamb!

(You know something? Maybe I analyze fiction too deeply! :wink: )

Crap. Now it’s bugging me that Vicki Lawrence even knows that her brother stopped at the bar and Andy told him about his wife, the Amos boy, and himself.

Both Andy and her brother are dead before she heard about anything.

Hence my boilermaker advice. The song has an insidious brain worm quality about it, but it makes no more sense now than it did 30 years ago. Damn, I hope there’s enough beer at home to chase the whisky.

**Rube E. Tewesday ** makes a good point- maybe it isn’t a case of “there’s a good explanation for everything, you just need to find it” maybe it is “the song was written in ten minutes on a cocktail napkin in a bar in Mobile Alabama and has a lot of holes if you think about it for a few seconds”.

Yeah, this isn’t a song that bears too much thinking about. I guess I always figured ‘little sister’ was out of town or something when the quickie ‘trial’ took place. The thing I always wondered about was how come nobody shot the Ames boy (Seth? Sid?)? Poor old stupid Andy, now – he gets shot, but Sid or Seth or whatever the hell his name was, he jumped slick. What’s up with that?

Anyway, I always liked the B side better (Dime-a-Dance), but I can’t find the lyrics to determine whether or not I still like it as much as I did when I was 12.

The song emphasized how fast backwoods southern justice can go. She didn’t intend for her brother to get caught, after all. I think it implies that the events unfolded so fast that she didn’t have time to work up the courage to implicate herself for first-degree murder. And after “justice” had run its course, well, wouldn’t have done anyone any good by then.