All I Can Do Is Write About It

Album: Gimme Back My Bullets (1976)
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  • Well, this life that I've live has took me everywhere
    There ain't no place I ain't never gone
    But it's kind of like the saying that you heard so many times
    Well, there just ain't no place like home

    Did you ever see a she-gator protect her young
    Or a fish in a river swimming free?
    Did you ever see the beauty of the hills of Carolina
    Or the sweetness of the grass in Tennessee?

    And, Lord, I can't make any changes
    All I can do is write 'em in a song
    'Cause I can see the concrete slowly creepin'
    Lord, take me and mine before that comes

    Would you like to see a mountain stream a-flowin'?
    Would you like to see a youngin' with his dog
    Did you ever stop to think about, well, the air your breathin'?
    Well, you better listen to my song

    And, Lord, I can't make any changes
    All I can do is write 'em in a song
    Yes but I can see the concrete slowly creepin'
    Lord, take me and mine before that comes

    I'm not tryin' to put down no big cities
    But the things they write about us is just a bore
    Well, you can take a boy out of ol' dixieland
    Lord but you'll never take ol' dixie from a boy

    And, Lord, I can't make any changes
    All I can do is write 'em in a song
    Yes but I can see the concrete slowly creepin'
    Lord, take me and mine before that comes
    'Cause I can see the concrete slowly creepin'
    Lord, take me and mine before that comes Writer/s: ALLEN COLLINS, RONNIE VAN ZANT
    Publisher: Universal Music Publishing Group
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 28

  • Kathy from OhioOriginally in SHA they say ooh ooh ooh, google any very early version, they changed it to boo boo boo.
    Ronnie did not agree w/Wallace on segregation but he felt the south had bad reputation overall, he was proud to be from the south & when he heard Southern & song Alabama by Neil Young he wrote the song saying I hear he is from Canada & never even ben to Alabama. There was never a "feud",
    After plane crash Young did a nash up of Alabama & SHA then never played Alabama again. He said Ronnie was right to call him out.
    Yes Curtis Loew was abt a black man, the guys used to collect pop bottles for cash like awe all did during that time, guys name was not Curtis Liew but he taught Ronnie how to play the dobro. I have heard Rickey Meflocke say song was abt Shorty, could have started abt Shorty but ended up abt thos black dude.
    A few others, Free Bird was not written for Duane Allman or Berry Oakley which I have heard some say, Free Bird was written way before those guys died, he usually dedicated to 1 or both.
    And Gimme Back my Bullets not a gun song.
    This is a beautiful song, Ronnie was a poet of sorts. A shame he didn't live to see how much people love his deep ballads like Simple Man, Comin Home etc.
  • David from ArkansasRandy W from GA
    Curtis Loew WAS written about a black man listen to the lyrics! It was also loosely based on Ricky Medlockes grandfather. I'm embarrassed for you that you run your mouth without even listening to the song.
  • Pete from GeorgiaNo, they clearly sing ” boo boo boo” just read Ronnie Van Zants comments about the song. Takes you 15 seconds to find on Google. They are taking a stand against Governor Wallace and his racist regime. Ronnie said in the same interview Where he says that they sing ” Boo boo boo” that he did not like Wallaces views of coloured people. And he says the press did not pic up on the ” Boo boo boo” Thats why it became controversial. This song is anti racistic. But has been about as missunderstood as ” Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen which was not a patrotic song. Listen to that text not a good Word about USA. ” the first kick I got was When I hit the ground end up like a dog Thats Been beat too much you stand half your life just covering up I was Born in the USA”.
  • Dan from Houston, Txchris: if you are going to defend someone you probally should have your facts right. i agree with yu about skynyrd NOT BEING racist(even though that word is thrown about so readily) in the song SWEET home alabama van zant is saying"ooh ooh" not "boo boo". george wallace thought the same thing and would not allow sweet home alabama to become the STATE SONG. what a shame. maybe the race baiters should listen to SIMPLE MAN OR EVERY MOTHER'S SON.
  • Dan from East Alton, IlNo myth: "Sweet Home Alabama" was NOT written as a joke. Far from that. It was written as Ronnies' response to Niel Youngs' "Southern Man." You will find the lines: " I hope niel young will remember,A southern man don't need him around anyhow." But they patched things up later on. In fact, Ronnie is wearing a niel young t-shirt on the cover of "Street Survivors." I believe Ricky Medlocke played with Skynyrd before they hit the big time. Anyways, he left & formed another band named "Blackfoot" which was a pretty good band. Check them out sometime.
  • Chris from Culpeper, VaHow can you say Skynyrd are a bunch of racist rednecks??? Sweet Home Alabama, they boo the racist governor ("in birmingham they loved the governor (boo!boo!boo!) and in Things Goin On they ask "have you ever lived down in the ghetto?... there's things goin' on that you don't know" and speaks out against the government that doesn't care. If Skynyrd is racist, its not the old ones. The new Skynyrd is closer to being racist, with a song like "the Last Rebel" but like Sweet Home Alabama, you can't take the lyrics for granted, either.
  • Luke from Dayton, OhI dont have the regular version, but i have the acoustic, personaly, i think the acoustic version is better.
  • Lonnie from North Liberty, Inwill always miss ya Ronnie! truly a great & under appreciated songwriting genious!
  • Bob from Boston, Ma... simplicity ...honesty... raw Skynyrd
  • Scott from Jacksonville, HiI was born and raised in Jacksonville and I think you would have to lived here and watch the changes to really understand what Ronnie meant with this song,When there was nothing but woods between St Johns bluff(it was a dirt road then) and the beach on Atlantic blvd now. etc... He wrote about what he saw and lived simple but true
    Scott, Jax,fl
  • Warren from Mukwonago, Wilisten, im from wisconsin and im going to see the new lynyrd skynyrd band when they come to the waukesha county fair. this song is so great that everytime i ride in my brother's truck i turn it on. and these men knew how to really make down-home music and that's what really matters. and this song shows it.
  • Alex from Bunnell, FlCurtis Loew was written about a black man according to Gary Rossington that they would go and get bottles as the song says. I have the interviews, so its thier voices telling the story.

    on the same Red Beard interview is Ed King talking about it too.
  • Randy W from Atlanta, GaCurtis Loew was not about a black man!
    The song was written about an old picker named Shorty Medlocke The Guitar players Daddy who plays with them now Rickey Medlocke.
    When Ronnie and Gary were kids they would go by and listen to shorty play a dobro he was 70 then and used get them to hang around and listen to him.Gary said he could outlast them all!
    The Curtis Loew name was meant as a joke by Ronnie Naming a black man with a jewish name wich was after the "Loews" Movie theatre chain. so now yall know the real story!
  • Randy W from Atlanta, GaThis came straight from Ronnie Van Zant himself,I'll quote him;
    "I wrote that song because the way things are goin on in todays time,I just know one day they are gonna build a holiday inn in the middle of the Everglades and what I'm basically sayin' is I dont wanna see it! thats why I say lord take me and mine before that comes"
  • Alex from Bunnell, Flto Kristen in Jacsonville, hometown of Lynyrd Skynyrd... they DID write the songs. Most of therm. but Curtis Loew was written by RVZ about a real black man (real name unknown) and titled by Ed King (according to Ed King in a radio interview). RVZ wrote most of all the Lynyrd Skynyrd lyrics. PS Kristen: you will know more than every one else for about another 5-8 years. Then you wont know as much as you do today. So enjoy it now! Make the best of it and carve a great life :)

    To anyone else...

    Mythbusting:
    No they were not racists, drunken, simpletons (Hicks), it was media hype that the record company MCA slammed out there to sell records. They wrote SHA as a joke in one afternoon and like most songs that are done carefree and come easily, it was their best radio hit (at the time).

    They were not stupid rednecks. They were just boys (studio musicians) from the country mostyl (40 miles north of my home land area) that knew what it took to make it and God rewarded them big time for their extreme hard effort! Like He will anyone. RVZ was the leader and made them what they are today. He had a vision and he worked for it. He didnt have to sell out to make it like many other artists and bands have.

    They were poeple that loved country living plain and simple. Anyone who has lived or grew up in a country environment knows the difference in big city life VS country type life. Country = having to drive 25-35 miles to get to the next city with a grocery store. not much of that left here in FLA.

    Agreed: They would not have written a song praising a black man if they were racists. Make sense to you article publishers? hope so. Dig deeper and do your homework before puking out an inaccurate article and smearing someone's character through the mud for eternity. If there are even many writers left alive with morals these days.

    Now FLA is becoming a giant Home Owners association with cookie cutter homes and more more land (yep, the wetlands too) being churned under and levled for new homes. So he was RIGHT on track with this song. I personally would have found a couple different lines different than two in the song he wrote but its a great song about a foreseen evil that had to be. It will be worse as time goes on. get your land now.

    Read their lyrics and listen to the songs. If they were stupid they would not have made the fame that STILL have today. How many bands have came and went since their time or even before? So many its not countded. How many other bands had just about ALL Platnum record sales for all their albums? They earned it.

    Im linking to this page, thanks for the site, WOW what an excellent idea you have! i wish I woulda thought of it. Of course every song isnt going to get the response that LS band gets. Some songs are meaningless. just good songs.
  • Andrew from Bartlett, Tnlove this song; it makes me proud to be southern.
  • Kristin from Jacksonvil, FlYeah whatever, you know they are not racist. They just dont kiss black peoples ass. They dont think tha black people can do no wrong, and they ayre as hell dont feel bad for them just because their black like you all people do. How could they wrote a song about a black man if they were racist. And yeah I know THEY didn't write the song, but if they were so rasist, then why would they sing it. Yeah i know im only 13 years old, but all i know is Ronnie was one of my heros, He died before I was even born, but if he was still alive today he would still be one of my heros. I hate it when people try to say they dont like black people, thats not true. You people dont know anything. Im only 13 and I know more than you do!
  • Josh from Fayetteville, TnI am playing a gig in a couple of weeks with a friend and we're doing this song (along with Simple Man and Curtis Leow). Seriously, I agree that this song is massively underrated, but people sure seem to love it when we play it. Then again we are just hobbyists and we play in southern Tennessee, so a lot of people DO know the song. We have a lot of Skynyrd fans here.
  • Evan from Winchester, EnglandSo underrated and so true. It's one of my favorite songs.
  • Robert from Bangor, MeThis song does get airplay. I just heard it on WKIT-FM, 100.3 in Bangor, Maine. It's a great song, and a few stations still will play it, I guess.
  • Eddy K... from Somerset, NjJeanette from N.C hit the nail on the head when she said radio treats Skynyrd poorly. I couldn't believe it when the critics were saying that Red White and Blue was the best song Skynyrd put out since the plane crash. What new songs have we heard on the radio since the crash. Radio WAKE UP, critics WAKE UP!!!!! There are songs out there like Born to Run, Smokestack Lightning, None of us are Free, Preacher Man. the Way, Edge of Forever, the Last Rebel. The Accoustic album of Endangered Species REALLY ROCKS but radio don't play it. I called our local radio station during Christmas Season because they were playing Christmas Music 24-7 and requested Mamas Song. The director told me he was familiar with Skynyrds Christmas Time Again album but felt the song wasn't right for some strange STUPID reason of his. Finally the Rock and Roll Hall of Shame give Skynyrd their LONG OVERDUE place in Music History but I sincerely wish that radio would give Skynyrd their recognition that they so rightly desertve. Play some NEW Skynyrd music on the radio
  • Ben from Gilbert, Azthis is not only my favorite skynyrd song but it is my favorite song of all times!

    as some have metioned,gimme back my bullets was not the most "popular" of there albums but most true fans of the band see it as the true insight
    of ronnie vanzant and his personal views.

    he truelly was a simple man who held the most simple things in life as treasures, seeing a "youngun with his dog" or the "hills of carolina" or the "grass of tennessee", etc....

    ronnie saw a changing world where the concrete poured over our natural recources and natures beauties and people forgot or took for granted the most enduring and important things humans can have, the simple things, nature, family, friends. even the "air we breath"!

    like ronnie, i share the same thoughts and values and also hope the lord "takes me and mine" before those things are gone.

    simply, the best song EVER written!!
  • Dan from Worcester, MaI can see the "concrete", This was not the first time Ronnie refered to concrete (which meant big business taking away the beauty of nature). I'm a Country Boy--"I don't even want a piece of concrete in my town". Ronnie was very aware of what was happening to the enviornment during his lifetime, (as well as many other social issues).
  • Chris from Mechanicsburg, PaThe electric version of this song features a fiddle solo and a piano solo, while the acoustic version features two piano solos.
  • Jeanette from Mcgrady, NcThis song also comes from one of Skynyrd's most underated albums;Gimme Back My Bullets. This album did poorly on the charts, but I feel that it is their most personal album. Radio has actually done more damage to Skynyrd than good, because they play the same ole Skynyrd standards all the time. Not that there is anything wrong with the hits but they wrote alot of songs that never get airplay. This song also tells a little about Ronnie. It has often been said that he stated he would never make it to 30 years old, he was 29 when he died, this song seems almost prophetic to me, hence, "please take me and mine before that comes." Long live Skynyrd.
  • Jon from Oakridge, OrI'de have to agree that this is the most underated Lynyrd Skynyrd song of all. Aside from "Simple Man" this is the best song they have to offer. (I highly recommend you listen to their song "Simple Man").
  • Matt Adkins from Huntington, WvBarry your exactly right this song is not known as much as there other songs and I think it is just a good if not better then some of the songs played on the radio the part that hits me and is so true because im from south carolina is the "Well you can take a boy out of ol' Dixieland
    But you'll never take ol' Dixie from a boy"

    The south is beutiful and this does help the fact that people from the south arnt all pissed off rednecks but i bet any person from the south sure as hell aint ashmed to fly a confederate flag. If you were ever to a skynyrd show are seen one recored they always had one waven they were proud of where they came from and so am I.
  • Barry Larkin from Cincinatti, OhIn my opinion next to Freebird this is one of the greatest Skynyrd songs. It embodies the soul of Southern Rock. The feelings of every concerned southerner are wrapped up into this song and we are still faced with the same issues today. This is probably one of the least recognized Skynyrd song too. You will never hear it played on the radio which surprises me. If you havent heard it I suggest you check it out.
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