The Bob Zentz Songbook



Ol’ Sud Bell

From Horizons

Music and lyrics © 1999, 2010 Bob Zentz



1. Eastern Shore, Virginia, long time ago (D-G)

Out on Hog Island lived a man you should-a known (D-Em-A)

Always wore suspenders, hip boots as well (D-G)

A voice like a barn door had Ol’ Sud Bell! (G-D-A-D)


     Ol’ Sud Bell, Ol’ Sud Bell

     Sittin’ on the porch of the Wachapreague Hotel

     Pickin’ on the banjo, he played it rather well

     Gone but not forgotten, is Ol’ Sud Bell!


2. The Bells lived in Wachapreague when prohibition came

A still in the attic was their claim to fame

And down in the kitchen, two faucets in a line

The cold ran cold and the hot ran ‘shine  (chorus)


3. At the Red Onion, in Broadwater town

Sud played the banjo while the people danced around

Charlie Doughty bowed the fiddle for the square dance tunes

Then they’d slip around the back for a little sip of moon-shine   (chorus)


4. Along with Sud and Charlie, playin’ in the band

Was Whistlin’ John Melvin, the “squeeze-box man”

Didn’t read no music, knew ‘em all by heart!

Once, he opened up the bellows and the damn thing fell apart!  (chorus)


5. Rich folks from the cities would come to Wachapreague

For fishin’ and for huntin’, perhaps to dance a jig

While someone cleaned their flounder (‘cause they didn’t like the smell)

They would frolic to the music of Ol’ Sud Bell   (chorus)


6. Walter P. Chrysler said, “Sud, come go

Up to New York City, you’ll put on a little show”

In the middle of the show, Sud opened up his case ...

And diamondback terrapins crawled all over the place!  (chorus)


7. Up in Philadelphia, he did a concert there

For the man-u-facturers of ladies’ underwear

They sent his wife some samples he could carry home that day

So underneath his clothes he wore the ladies’ lingerie …!  (chorus)


8. Ol’ Sud Bell, I’ve heard tell

If he isn’t up in heaven, then he’s pickin’ down in hell

Never known to end a song, and his song never will!

Long as folks keep tellin’ stories ‘bout Ol’ Sud Bell!  (chorus)


     Ol’ Sud Bell, Ol’ Sud Bell

     The songs he would sing and the stories he would tell

     Gone like the spray on a cold Atlantic swell

     The last Hog islander was Ol’ Sud Bell



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