All The Alligators

One evening back in the mists of prehistory (the early 1970s), my friend Tom Naue and I were sitting around Papa Caesars in Carbondale, in its original location across from the island, just off of Southern Illinois Avenue. Tom was a smart, irrevent semi-tough guy from Elgin who told things like they were, always, and we were pals. Anyway, a group of grad students on the upper level, which surrounded the pit where our booth sat, were having a deep intellectual discussion, which had Tom and I  happily rolling our eyes. At some point, one guy challenged a young woman in the group to tell just what she did believe in.

“I beleive,” she intoned, “in everything…and nothing.

Tom and I perked up at that. Before I knew it, we were making rhymes about everything going on in the place, and I was scribbling  them down in my notebook. When we got done, we went back to my place, and I grabbed a guitar and put what we’d done to music. A southern rock/rockabilly song emerged–the quickest and most fun to write song I ever wrote. The words go:

Everything and nothing’s real, she sang

As the waitress tipped the waiter

and made promises for later that night

And soon she looked at the floor like stone

and she couldn’t help but groan

Cause she knew that was something

she could not believe.


And all the alligators sipping coffee all around her

their methedrine smiles and chatter tightly bound her

obviously they hadn’t found her

though she was one of them

Now another sat dully staring

without the heart for glaring

what burden he was bearing

she would never know

And the neon light was buzzing

while everyone was losing

their places carefully choosing for fear that they might win.


She sang I believe in everything and nothing

but the alligators knew that she was bluffing

Yes the alligators knew that she was bluffing   

Last winter, my wife Dorothy and I recorded a live version of the song with percussionist Alpha Stewart at The Heartland Cafe.  The monitors were messed up that night, and it wasn’t the best I ever sang the thing, but all in all it’s not too awful bad, maybe, and I’m pasting in a link to the video, below:

We recorded a studio version of the song on our album, Live at Custer Street (by The Kent McDaniel Band), which is most readily available at Mp3 downloads of “All the Alligators” and all the songs from Live at Custer Street are available everywhere downloads are sold, inluding iTunes and Amazon.

About kentmcdanielwrites

Writer and musician.

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