1. Hop On Chester


Hop On Chester Ernie Hill
One night in a hobo jungle, it was cold and the air smelled like rain
There were 19 0r 20 some hobos, waiting around for a train
Some were laughing and smoking and drinking, some were singing and making up tales
Some were sitting and quietly thinking, some were happy just to not be in jail

There old ones and young ones of all colors, a few women but mostly just men
There were workers and immigrants and fugitives, with no telling just where all they’d been
And off to the side of the track were three men, one of them lay on the ground
He had his ear to the rail and he was fading fast, waiting for his last train to come ‘round

It was old Johnny One Time and Okie Joe, and it was Chester, who lay by the track
Okie Joe took off his over coat, stuffed it up underneath Chester’s back
And Ol Johnny knelt down close to Chester’s ear and he whispered as it started to rain
Said “When you feel the rail rumble and you hear that steam whistle,
Get up, Chester, that’d be your train”.
(chorus) “Yeh, Hop on Chester and ride, up over the prairie and the Great Divide
Where you’ll never be hungry, in jail or in pain, hop on, Chester, that’d be your train”

Now Okie Joe said “Chester when you see that light coming, roll over here, off of the track
‘Cause that train’s gonna stop and you won’t have to jump, so hop on and don’t you look back
You’ll see quite a few of old boys, the engineer, well that’s Memphis Ben
He’ll sure be happy to have you on board, so Chester, hop up and get in”
(repeat chorus)
I looked on as Chester lay dying, the lightning lit up all his pain
But ol’ Johnny and Joe never stopped trying to help Chester get on that ghost train
Well he rolled off the track and he finally lay still,
He was smiling, his eyes open wide
Swear I saw Chester’s spirit, it was a misty blue light, step forward to take his last ride (repeat chorus)