This week Jim Adams has prompted us with choosing songs involving Clear | Dark | Light for this week’s Song Lyric Sunday.
This week I chose “The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia” by Vicki Lawrence and Reba McEntire. Vicki Lawrence recorded this Southern Gothic song which was released on November 27, 1972. Written & composed by Bobby Russell, the murder ballad became the only #1 hit Lawrence had in her career.
Twenty years later, in April, 1992, Reba McEntire recorded the song as a cover song, that even with its success, it only reached #12, breaking Reba’s string of 24 consecutive top 10 country single hits.
Between those 20 years, a movie by the same name starring Kristy McNichol, Dennis Quaid & Mark Hamill was released in 1981 about a country singer Travis (Dennis Quaid) who wants to go to Nashville, Tennessee with younger sister Amanda (Kristy McNichol) to become a star. He finds himself in some trouble with the law and is sentenced to a work detail at a prison farm. Amanda falls in love with a police officer Conrad (Mark Hamill) who tries to help Travis out of his mess.
Tanya Tucker recorded this song for the movie soundtrack with a change in the lyrics, because “they didn’t hang an innocent man” in the movie. The storyline was just a bit different than the original morbid lyrics.
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 'fore 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've 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 that the lights went out in Georgia That's the night that they hung an innocent man Well, don't trust your soul to no backwoods Southern lawyer 'Cause the judge in the town's got bloodstains on his hands 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 have 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 backwoods quiet as a mouse Came upon some tracks too small for Andy to make He looked through the screen at the back porch door And 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 A 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 Said, "Supper's waiting at home and I got to get to it" That's the night that the lights went out in Georgia That's the night that they hung an innocent man Well, don't trust your soul to no backwoods Southern lawyer 'Cause the judge in the town's got bloodstains on his hands Well, 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 cheating wife had never left town 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 that the lights went out in Georgia That's the night that they hung an innocent man Well, don't trust your soul to no backwoods Southern lawyer 'Cause the judge in the town's got bloodstains on his hands That's the night that the lights went out in Georgia That's the night that they hung an innocent man Well, don't trust your soul to no backwoods Southern lawyer 'Cause the judge in the town's got bloodstains on his hands Source: Musixmatch Songwriters: Russell Robert L Bobby The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia lyrics © Pix Russ Music Ltd.
You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them. ~Desmond Tutu
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