Dead Snakes


Written by John Stewart


‘Dead Snakes’ is on “Teresa and the Lost Songs” (Crow cassette, 1992, Homecoming Records CD, 1998), there´s a fine live version on the “A Night at Jimmy Duke´s” CD from 2002, featuring Dave Batti. 

John writes: “ Dead Snakes was written in around 1998.  The first verse is a true story that happened to my friend Margo Jones.  It´s a terrific metaphor.”   




(Em*) = add G-note on high E-string

Bass line through first verse, no guitar.

We´ve written out the chords, just in case you don´t have a top notch bass player

at your beck and call.




A little girl stops in the middle of the road,

Frozen in fear, (Bm)frozen in (Em)fear,

For a snake is stretched ´cross the middle of the road,

Still and clear, (Bm)still and (Em)clear.

She (G)can't go on and she (Am7)won't turn (D)back,

(G)She feels a (Em)sweat come (Am7)running down her (D)back,

She'd (G)still be (Em)there if (Am7)no one (D)said,

Said, (C)(hold)"Hey little girl, the (Bm)(hold)snake is dead." (Em)


My father' s face is as clear today

As before the time that he (Bm)went a(Em)way.

Said, "You can't win, your ass is lead."

I'm a prisoner of the (Bm)words he (Em)said.

I (G)can't go on and I (Am7)won't turn (D)back,

(G)I hear the (Em)train come (Am7)yelling down the (D)track.

I'd (G)still be (Em)there if (Am7)no one (D)said,

Said, (C)(hold)"Hey little boy, the (Bm)(hold)snake is dead."




[continue into verse, (Em*)s written out]


Beware (Em*)little fat boys,(Em*)

They turn in(Em*)to angry hunters. (Em*)(Em)(Em)(Em)(Em*)

Beware (Em*)little fat boys, (Em*)

They know the (Em*)spell they're under.(Em*)

(G)They know hurt, (D)they know pain,

(G)They know (Em)life standing (Am7)out there in the (D)rain,

And they'd (G)still be (Em)there if (Am7)no one (D)said,

Said, (C)(hold)"Hey little boy, the (Bm)(hold)snake is dead." (Em)


Snake said to Eve, said, "Come here, baby,

Bite my apple, it'll (Bm)turn you into a (Em)lady."

Eve took a bite and things got rough,

You can always get some, but you can (Bm)never get e(Em)nough.

You´ll (G)still be (Em)there 'till (Am7)someone (D)says,

Says, (C)(hold)"Hey, everybody, the (Bm)(hold)snake is dead." (Em)

The snake is dead.


© John Stewart, All Rights Reserved, Charlie Woodward & Art Faller


December 2005