“The devil came down to Clifden, lookin for a soul to steal, he was getting kinda low and don’t ya know he was willing to make a deal …”
Johnny went through Clifden one day and listened to the Irishmen play, they hit their fiddles with a mighty cry and sang to the darkening sky. They brought tears to the old men and made the women flush, their voices held the longing of a race and the sighs of a million souls. The hills turned green as they strummed and drummed and the rain came down soft and light, the island misted over and the castles rang out, this is what Johnny saw …
He played them Red House, like they’d never heard before, he bent the guitar and stretched the sound and it was clear that he was throwin it down. Next he played Alligator Wine and that’s when he went to far, his good eyes shone like the slave in the song and his bad eye grew cold and hard. His face went pale and he started to sweat and he felt himself swoon and moan, that’s when he turned to the fiddlers in the band and this is what he said:
“Hey there fiddlers I’ma need yer help”
“At your service young man”
“I got the devil in me now and he’s got to go, can you play a Charley Daniels song”
“You mean the one with fiddles and the band o’ demons, lad?”
“Yep, that’d be the one.”
“You can count on us, boy, just turn to the crowd and let them carry you along …”
When it was all over Johnny was smiling again, the women came up and washed his brow and the young boys gathered around.
“Is it true what they say about the crossroads,” said one
“What is it they say,” said Johnny
“That you can sell your soul to the devil and learn to play like you …”
Johnny didn’t say nothing and just looked at the boy, his cheeks were red and his eyes were blue and he would have made a deal right then.
A mother came up and looked up at Johnny, askin when does the devil come
“Whenever I touch the guitar, good woman, whenever I sing a song. But the devil was an angel first, ya know, I’m just playing along.”