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Lyr Req: The Ballad of Perry Bell

The Redneck 23 May 09 - 01:06 PM
Jim Dixon 27 May 09 - 09:34 AM
GUEST,999 30 Dec 09 - 11:14 PM
GUEST,Lee Flynn 31 Dec 09 - 10:24 AM
Jim Dixon 02 Jan 10 - 06:31 PM
Jim Dixon 02 Jan 10 - 07:14 PM
GUEST,unknown 13 Dec 11 - 02:16 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Lyrics to 'The Ballad of Perry Bell'
From: The Redneck
Date: 23 May 09 - 01:06 PM

This is the story of a guy who lived in Georgia. He went to Ozark, Alabama and got involved with a lady there and ultimately shot the sheriff was put in prison and died there.

I have been able to reconstruct all but one verse of the - long - song but can find that verse nowhere.

Can anybody help?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Lyrics to 'The Ballad of Perry Bell'
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 27 May 09 - 09:34 AM

Please tell us everything you know about this song. Has anyone recorded it? Who? When? Is it based on a true story? Can we verify any of the facts? How did you hear of it? And please post the lyrics you already have.

My searches have turned up nothing. I can't even verify that such a song exists.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Ballad of Perry Bell
From: GUEST,999
Date: 30 Dec 09 - 11:14 PM

Same here. Maybe s/he ain't comin' back?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Ballad of Perry Bell
From: GUEST,Lee Flynn
Date: 31 Dec 09 - 10:24 AM

Thanks for checking further. It had almost slipped my mind that I had asked you for help.

This song caught my interest because I was born in Ozark and my mother used to sing this song to me. She doesn't remember the words. I have searched for the lyrics of "Perry Bell" and "The Ballad of Perry Bell" and I have racked my brain for years and have asked everybody I thought might know. Even the retired mayor of Ozark - He remembered seeing the newspaper report of this event but had no knowledge of the lyrics. I went to the Alabama State Archives in Montgomery - also no help. I used to play the guitar so I entered the chords so I wouldn't forget the melody.

Here is all I could come up with:


        PERRY BELL

D                                                         G                         D
WELL, COME ON YOU YOUNG PEOPLE AND LISTEN WHILE I TELL,
                                                                         A
THE STORY OF A YOUNG MAN, HIS NAME WAS PERRY BELL.
D                                                G                         D
ALSO THAT OF A SHERIFF, HIS NAME WE ALL KNOW WELL.
                                                                 A                        D
JUST HOW THEY MADE THEIR ACQUAINTANCE, IS VERY SAD TO TELL.


THE SHERIFF WAS DARK AND HANDSOME, PERRY BELL WAS FAIR AND GAY.

HIS HOME WAS UP IN GEORGIA, NOT VERY FAR AWAY.

BUT ON THAT FATAL MORNING, AS HE WAS LEAVING HOME.

LITTLE DID HE THINK THEN, THAT HE'D BE GONE SO LONG.


IT WAS ON ONE SUMMER'S EVENING, THE SUN WAS GOING DOWN.

THE SHERIFF HAD A SUMMONS TO GO OUT NORTH OF TOWN.

HE REACHED HIS DESTINATION, HE MADE HIS BUSINESS KNOWN.

HE SAID, "YOU ARE MY PRISONER, THE JAILHOUSE IS YOUR HOME."


AND SO HE MET THE STRANGER, OUT NEAR THE STRICKLAND FARM.

HE SAID, "WHY DO YOU WANT ME, I'VE SURELY DONE NO HARM".

THE SHERIFF WAS IN A HURRY, WITH BELL HE WOULD NOT AGREE,

AND IN ANOTHER INSTANT, HAD SHOT HIM TO HIS KNEE.


BUT AS YOUNG BELL WAS RISING, HE DREW HIS GERMAN GUN.

AND WHAT WAS DONE THAT INSTANT, CAN NEVER BE UNDONE.

HE KILLED THE OZARK SHERIFF THAT FATAL SUMMER NIGHT.

HE WOULD NOT HEED HIS PLEADING TO DO JUST WHAT WAS RIGHT.




AND SO THE TRAGEDY HAPPENED OUT ON THE ASBURY ROAD.

HE WAS A LONELY STRANGER, DIDN'T KNOW WHERE TO MAKE HIS ABODE.

HE SCRAMBLED INTO A FARMHOUSE AND FELL ACROSS THE BED,

"I AM SO VERY WOUNDED, PLEASE BATHE MY ACHING HEAD".


THE OFFICERS, THEY ARRIVED SOON AND CARRIED HIM OFF TO JAIL.

FOR FIFTEEN MONTHS HE STAYED THERE WITHOUT A CHANCE FOR BAIL.

???        MISSING        ???

???        MISSING        ???

(The two above lines are no longer in my memory AND there might be another whole verse missing here.)


THE DOCTOR MADE HIS VISITS AROUND THE COUNTY JAIL.

HE FOUND HIM WOUNDED, BLEEDING, WITHOUT A CHANCE FOR BAIL.

HE DRESSED HIS WOUNDS SO CAREFUL, FOR HE WAS VERY MILD.

HOW WELL DID HE REMEMBER, T'WAS SOME DEAR MOTHER'S CHILD.


THEY HAD THEIR JURY PANELED, TO THEM THEY DID PROCLAIM.

SOME OF THEM SAID, "WE'LL PUNISH HIM", SOME SAID, "IT IS A SHAME".

AND SO THAT NOBLE JURY, THEY NEVER COULD AGREE

TO GIVE THIS MAN HIS FREEDOM, T'WAS MADNESS NOW YOU SEE.


AND TO THE LONELY WIDOW, I'LL SURELY WISH HER WELL,

I HOPE SHE'LL HOLD NO MALICE TOWARD YOUNG PERRY BELL

BUT POINT HIM TO THE SAVIOR WHO DOETH ALL THINGS WELL

HE SUFFERED MENTAL ANGUISH, NO HUMAN TONGUE CAN TELL.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BALLAD OF PERRY BELL
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 02 Jan 10 - 06:31 PM

I've reformatted your song to make it easier to read:


PERRY BELL

Well, come on, you young people, and listen while I tell
The story of a young man. His name was Perry Bell.
Also that of a sheriff, his name we all know well.
Just how they made their acquaintance is very sad to tell.

The sheriff was dark and handsome. Perry Bell was fair and gay.
His home was up in Georgia, not very far away.
But on that fatal morning, as he was leaving home,
Little did he think then that he'd be gone so long.

It was on one summer's evening, the sun was going down.
The sheriff had a summons to go out north of town.
He reached his destination. He made his business known.
He said, "You are my prisoner. The jailhouse is your home."

And so he met the stranger out near the Strickland farm.
He said, "Why do you want me? I've surely done no harm."
The sheriff was in a hurry. With Bell he would not agree,
And in another instant, had shot him to his knee.

But as young Bell was rising, he drew his German gun,
And what was done that instant, can never be undone.
He killed the Ozark sheriff that fatal summer night.
He would not heed his pleading to do just what was right.

And so the tragedy happened out on the Asbury Road.
He was a lonely stranger, didn't know where to make his abode.
He scrambled into a farmhouse and fell across the bed.
"I am so very wounded, please bathe my aching head."

The officers they arrived soon and carried him off to jail.
For fifteen months he stayed there without a chance for bail.
[At least 2 lines missing here.]

The doctor made his visits around the county jail.
He found him wounded, bleeding, without a chance for bail.
He dressed his wounds so careful, for he was very mild.
How well did he remember 'twas some dear mother's child.

They had their jury paneled. To them they did proclaim.
Some of them said, "We'll punish him." Some said, "It is a shame."
And so that noble jury, they never could agree.
To give this man his freedom 'twas madness now, you see.

And to the lonely widow, I'll surely wish her well.
I hope she'll hold no malice toward young Perry Bell,
But point him to the Savior who doeth all things well.
He suffered mental anguish, no human tongue can tell.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Ballad of Perry Bell
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 02 Jan 10 - 07:14 PM

Sorry, my searches still turn up nothing.

However, now that your lyrics have been posted here, there's a chance that someone else will be searching for these lyrics and will find them here. Then maybe they will post some additional information.

Mudcat is a popular web site, and many people land here after searching for hard-to-find lyrics.

My advice is: check back here every few months to see if anything turns up.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Ballad of Perry Bell
From: GUEST,unknown
Date: 13 Dec 11 - 02:16 PM

True Story.


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