Toward Dixieland the Devil set his feet

In a bind, and way behind

Toward Dixieland the Devil set his feet,

And into Georgia did’s intentions meet,

For on this day the Devil want’d to steal

A soul to grind across his hellish wheel.

A lazy demon, wanting for his take,

Behind his quota, Satan need’d a break.

Anon the demon traipsed into a place

(A heav’nly clearing, willow branch enlaced)

Where all alone a youth had set a stage;

The teen with fiddle-sawing was engaged

Out in the woods, no other soul around;

No mortal near to hear the fiddle’s sound.

The devil then with guile leapt with a thump,

His cloven hooves bestrode a hick’ry stump.


At once, the young man knew the Devil’s name –

The hooves, the pointy tail, the coat of flame.

He wondered why the villain’d left his lake

Of fi-re, briefly, ere the Devil spake:

“Behold my visage! Aye, you know me well;

The Prince of all Damnation; High’st of Hell.

But one less famous facet I’ll tell you:

I also am a fiddle player, too.

Heroically you play to th’assembled trees,

You please the feelings of the birds and bees;

Your mettle then, I’ve seen; such bravery!

Perhaps you’d entertain some knavery:

I might propose a wager, ‘tween us both;

The outcome will determine, on my oath,

That should you win, a fiddle of gold you’ll have,

Oth’rwsie your soul I’ll take in whole, not halved.”


The young man, just a boy, considered this:

A fiddle made of gold, or The Abyss?

Then said he, “Devil I have made my choice;

Stoke not your flaming ears and hear my voice.

Your bet is fair, and I’ll participate!

You’ll not enjoy this. I am pretty great.”


O! Johnny! Pride hath brought thee to the edge!

Perdition waits! Its host stands to allege

Superiority in earthly tasks!

Prepare thy bow, and play as th’bargain asks.

In Georgia, the Inferno is unleashed,

Its machinations turned by th’Topmost Beast,

Perhaps you’ll win a fiddle made of gold;

If not, alas, the Devil gets your soul!


The deal complete, the Devil then produced

A violin case from his rotting suits

And clicked its clasps to open up the thing;

To introduce his violin, all stringed

With hair of damnéd sinners, which he tuned

With screams as if the sinners’d ne’er been pruned.

“Allow me to go first,” the Devil sneered

With flourish of his bow, so cavalier;

Across the hairs, the bow he pulled with grace;

An evil hiss was made throughout the place.

And as the Devil earnestly began,

Anon was th’demon joined by ‘n impish band.

Blood red became the sky, and charred the ground;

Words fail to well describe the Devil’s sound:




His evil worked, the Devil set to rest,

And Johnny said, “You almost are the best.

Allow me to refer you to this chair

Where you can park your fiery derriere

And I might take my turn and play a bit,

To show you how the best of all does it.


Of every folk song ever had been writ,

There wasn’t one that John’d not heard of it;

A medley then of these he plucked and drew:

The Fire On The Mountain; Rising Sun House, too,

And Chick’n’s In th’ Bread Pan Picking Dough, he played;

Then Gran Does Y’r Dog Bite, No Child No arrayed:




When finished Johnny, Georgia was restored;

Its sky was blue again, its soil unscorched,

And Satan kicked the dust and hemmed and hawed

For knew he that he’d lost to ‘n act of God.

He laid the golden fiddle on the grass

Before his victor’s feet, his skills surpassed.

As off he walked, his hornéd head hung low

His vanquisher threw salt upon the blow:

“Return to me, sir Devil, if ever you

Have missed again your hellish revenue;

I told you clear as I’d tell my own kin,

You son of a bitch, I’m th’ best that’s ever been.”

Sorry I missed a week, gang. I was traveling! This song is so silly. I love it when a song not only features a violin but then the lyrics are also about violins.

See also: “If You’re Gonna Play In Texas”


Anyway, thanks for reading. This is Phil.