Now I have to give Charlie Daniels his due here. This is a very catchy song. But there are a couple of things that have always bugged me about it.
First off, there’s the wager that the Devil offers: Johnny’s immortal soul against a golden fiddle. Now if Johnny starts playing in Vegas regularly, I suppose that a golden fiddle might come in handy. But if he isn’t, and he doesn’t plan on pawning the thing, what good is it exactly? Sure, it’s gold and all. But in order for him to get it, he has to beat the Devil which would require that his current fiddle be good enough to help him best the Prince of Darkness. Johnny concedes that it might be a sin for him to take the Devil’s wager (which it probably is). What he doesn’t seem to consider is that betting your soul against a chintzy fiddle is a pretty stupid wager.
The second issue I have with the song is the duel itself. Quite simply, the Devil kicks Johnny’s fiddle-playing rump. His riff is just way cooler than Johnny’s, and he has some pretty wicked electric guitar backing him up. What does Johnny have? “Chicken in the bread pan, picking out dough.”