Carroll County Accident follows the great tradition of Southern Gothic songs about infidelity, revenge, suicide, and murderous intent which were graphically depicted in Millers Cave by Bobby Bare and Vicki Lawrence’s That’s the Night That the Lights Went Out in Georgia, both set in the state of Georgia (USA)In 1967 Bobby Gentry’s Ode to Billie Joe, referenced Carroll County “And brother said he recollected when he and Tom and Billie Joe/Had put a frog down my back at the Carroll County picture show,’ which is the location in which the “accident” in this song occurs.
Bobby and Laurie covered the original 1968 hit by Porter Waggoner which is also set in Carroll County, Mississippi – there must be something in the water there. Bob Ferguson wrote Carroll County Accident as well as Wings of a Dove for Ferlin Husky in 1960
Bobby and Laurie had reformed after a brief hiatus between 1967-69, their last hit had been a #14 cover of the C&W classic High Noon, famously sung by Frankie Laine on the soundtrack of the movie, and their previous #1 hit had been a cover of the country-tinged Roger Miller song Hitchhiker.
It was no surprise when the duo again borrowed from the C&W genre for their comeback song, a steel guitar-steeped morality tale about Walter Browning and Mary-Ellen Jones, small town adultery, road trauma, and its fateful consequences “The wreck was on the highway, just inside the line/ Walter Browning lost his life, and for a time / It seemed that Mary-Ellen Jones would surely die / But she lived long enough, for her to testify.”Carroll County Accident charted #30 in November 1969 and was followed a year later by Through The Eyes of Love.