Lynryd Skynyrd – All I Can Do Is Write About It

When you think of Lynryd Skynyrd you don’t think of an Environmental Friendly band but Van Zant was that. They all grew up in Gainesville Florida and were around wildlife and natural tropical areas.  This song is a warning about the growth of his hometown and he was cautioning about urban and suburban areas claiming wild lands as their own.

‘Cause when I can see the concrete a slowly creepin’Lord take me and mine before that come

Van Zant saw this happening all through Dixie which include South Carolina, North Carolina,  Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, and Tennessee.

This song was on their Gimme Back My Bullets album released in 1976 after Ed King had left the band. It was the B-side to Gimme Back My Bullets.

Gimme Back My Bullets is mistaken for meaning real gun bullets but it’s not…it meant the chart positions of songs…” with a bullet.” The definition I found was “That has entered the charts in a high position, or has climbed rapidly in the charts, or is thought to have the potential for further rapid advancement.”

The song was written by Ronnie Van Zant and guitar player Allen Collins. The band was an album band that also included some hit singles and now classic radio staples such as Simple Man, Free Bird, Sweet Home Alabama, Gimme Back My Bullets, Saturday Night Special, The Ballad Of Curtis Lowe, and more.

What if the plane crash wouldn’t have happened? Bill Bentley, the author of “Smithsonian Rock and Roll: Live and Unseen,” said: “I think if Lynyrd Skynyrd had lasted, they would have become one of the foundations of American rock bands, much like Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers or Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, I think Ronnie Van Zant had enough artistic strength to grow and they really would have been individuals, there wouldn’t have been another band like them.”

I’m not sure what would have happened but I don’t see them ever conforming to the trends of the day. Ronnie Van Zant in parachute pants? I just don’t see it happening. I can’t see them changing their sound like ZZ Top, Heart, and Cheap Trick. Personally, I think they would have had a huge follow-up to Street Survivors…as the 80s came they might have carried on as before like Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen.

If they didn’t make it in the 80s I could see them reforming in the 90s like The Allman Brothers and others. Most people think of these guys as backwoods good old boys…which some of that is true but they varied on their writing. An environmental song and a gun control song in Saturday Night Special. No one talks about that much.

All I Can Do Is Write About It

Well this life that I live took me everywhereThere ain’t no place I ain’t never goneWell it’s kind of like the sayinThat you heard so many timesWell there just ain’t no place like home

Did you ever see a she-gator protect her youngin’Or fish in a river swimmin’ freeDid you ever see the beauty of the hills of CarolinaOr the sweetness of the grass in Tennessee

And Lord I can’t make any changesAll I can do is write ’em in a song‘Cause if I can seen the concrete a slowly creepin’Lord take me and mine before that comes

Like to see a mountain stream a flowin’Do ya like to see a youngin’ with his dogDid ya ever stop and think aboutWell the air your breathin’Well ya better listen to my song

And Lord I can’t make any changesAll I can do is write ’em in a song‘Cause when I can see the concrete a slowly creepin’Lord take me and mine before that comes

I’m not tryin’ to put down no big cityBut the things they write about us is just a boreWell you can take a boy out of ole’ Dixieland, LordBut you’ll never take ole’ Dixie from a boy

And Lord I can’t make any changesAll I can do is write ’em in a song‘Cause when I can see the concrete a slowly creepin’Lord take me and mine before that comes

If I can see the concrete a slowly creepin’Lord take me and mine before that comes


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

23 thoughts on “Lynryd Skynyrd – All I Can Do Is Write About It”

  1. now that’s a good song – surprisingly country sounding. I agree with the overall sentiment of the words too, another reiteration of how ‘they paved paradise, put up a parking lot’

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great set of lyrics. Forty odd years since it was written and the concrete trucks are still out there, increasing the city limits and paving over the Everglades. Seems us humans are slow to learn.


  3. I can personally attest for this band’s plea to save the land around Gainesville watching residential and commercial sprawl creep slowly into the natural habitat of North Central part of Florida. For I sent several years as a city planner in this area as an advocate for this cause.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I actually have a degree tailored towards that and spent my univ. years summers and a year after working in a related field , conservation…. I felt it was worthwhile but it was very frustrating, because near a huge city as I was, the powers that be were all lined up for unlimited growth and paid little attention to my/our recommendations about preserving various areas – we turned in a report, for one example, that documented a locally rare bird species nesting in a park area and before the ink was dried the government had OK’d putting a subdivision on it!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 😦 nature always loses when it comes to power trippers and developers. not only nature but old architecture. they are even allowing fracking in the state parks in MI

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Our common enemy it seems for these conservation efforts were those greedy land developers who unscrupulously influenced local politicians. I don’t suppose much of that has changed since my days as a planner.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. And gun control also in Saturday Night Special…I think these two songs show people they were more than just some rednecks playing rock and roll.

      Liked by 1 person

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