Folk and Traditional Song Lyrics:
Hang on the Bell

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Hang on the Bell

Hang on the Bell
(T. Connor, C. Erard, R. Parker)

The scene was in the jailhouse, and if curfew rang that night
The guy in number 13 cell would go out like a light.
She knew her Dad was innocent, and so Poor Little Nell
Has tied her tender torso to the clapper of the bell.

cho: Oh, hang on the bell, Nelly, hang on the bell
     Your poor Daddy's locked in a cold prison cell.
     As you swing to the left, and you swing to the right
     Remember that curfew must never ring tonight.

It all began when Nelly said, "No! No!" to Handsome Jack
And struggled as he tried to kiss her by the railroad track;
Her Dad rushed up to save her as the train came down the line,
And Jack fell back across the track and paid the price of crime.

Dear Daddy was arrested, and brought up before the Law,
The P'liceman said,"Old Handsome Jack ain't handsome any more!"
Then Nelly came and pleaded, but the jury did not care ---
They didn't have a sofa, so they offered him the chair.

Well, they pulled upon the bellrope, but there was no ting-a-ling
They could not get their business done, the curfew would not ring!
Upstairs, poor Nell was swinging, while below they pulled and heaved,
When suddenly a voice cried "Stop! Your father's been reprieved!"

Now, that's the bedtime story that the wardens love to tell
The convicts listen to this tale of Plucky Little Nell,
And how she saved her Dad that night --- the curfew did not ring!
And tears run down their faces, while in harmony they sing:

Note: Recorded by Beatrice Kay , late 30's or early 40's; by Ray Boguslav
in late 50's and by Chad Mitchell Trio in 60's.  Joe Hickerson
sings this to a much less jazzy tune (source?) RG

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