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Origins: Banks of the Ohio

DigiTrad:
BANKS OF THE OHIO
ON THE BANKS OF THE OLD PEDEE


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Songs about the Ohio River (42)
Help: Banks of the Ohio/Edisto? (5)
Lyr Req: Banks of the Ohio (modern version) (8)
Lyr Add: Murder-free Banks of the Ohio (8)


Earl 18 Jul 97 - 09:39 AM
rgrass@ee.net 22 Jul 97 - 07:02 PM
pilgrim 01 Jun 99 - 09:25 AM
Roger in Baltimore 01 Jun 99 - 09:39 AM
masato sakurai 11 Aug 01 - 07:03 AM
GUEST,genie 13 Aug 01 - 03:39 AM
IanC 13 Aug 01 - 05:23 AM
masato sakurai 13 Aug 01 - 06:47 AM
raredance 16 Aug 01 - 09:38 PM
Zorro 16 Aug 01 - 09:44 PM
Genie 17 Aug 01 - 01:21 AM
toadfrog 17 Aug 01 - 01:54 AM
pavane 17 Aug 01 - 05:22 AM
Genie 22 Aug 01 - 06:05 AM
KingBrilliant 22 Aug 01 - 06:15 AM
GUEST,genie 03 Sep 01 - 09:33 PM
GUEST 04 Sep 01 - 03:07 AM
Joe Offer 04 Sep 01 - 04:08 AM
KingBrilliant 04 Sep 01 - 05:19 AM
GUEST 04 Sep 01 - 10:00 PM
Joe Offer 04 Sep 01 - 10:43 PM
KingBrilliant 05 Sep 01 - 05:21 AM
GUEST,Wanda 10 Sep 01 - 04:50 AM
GUEST,Lanfranc at the orifice 10 Sep 01 - 06:31 AM
GUEST,Wanda 26 Sep 01 - 04:02 AM
GUEST 22 Oct 03 - 07:50 PM
GUEST,big_garr_2002@yahoo.com 09 Jul 04 - 10:31 PM
GUEST 05 Jan 05 - 12:36 AM
Shanty Filker 05 Jan 05 - 02:12 AM
Uncle_DaveO 05 Jan 05 - 10:15 AM
GUEST,Deborah Rubin 19 Aug 08 - 02:00 PM
12-stringer 19 Aug 08 - 02:54 PM
GUEST,Don Fahey 01 Dec 13 - 07:50 PM
GUEST,sacschneid 03 Jul 16 - 11:03 PM
Susan of DT 04 Jul 16 - 07:34 AM
Felipa 04 Jul 16 - 07:58 AM
GUEST 20 Dec 16 - 01:09 PM
Mrrzy 20 Dec 16 - 01:23 PM
GUEST,CoriSCapnSkip 04 Aug 17 - 12:30 AM
GUEST,CoriSCapnSkip 04 Aug 17 - 12:32 AM
GUEST,bill aldworth 30 Aug 17 - 10:44 AM
leeneia 31 Aug 17 - 05:16 PM
Richie 31 Aug 17 - 10:05 PM
leeneia 01 Sep 17 - 10:45 AM
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Subject: Banks of the Ohio
From: Earl
Date: 18 Jul 97 - 09:39 AM

I'm putting together a set of American murder songs. Does anyone know the origins of "The Banks of the Ohio"?

When was it written?

Is it based on a true story?

Does it come from an older song?

Any info woutld be appreciated.


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Subject: RE: Banks of the Ohio
From: rgrass@ee.net
Date: 22 Jul 97 - 07:02 PM

try Ivan Tribe at WOUB radio, Ohio University, athens, Ohio. He has info on zillions of songs. good luck. Rebec


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Subject: The banks of the ohio
From: pilgrim
Date: 01 Jun 99 - 09:25 AM

Does anyone know the lyrics to "The banks of the ohio?" Specifically, the version where the woman is murdered b/c she refuses to marry Willie, he kills her and is subsequently haunted by her ghost.


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Subject: RE: The banks of the ohio
From: Roger in Baltimore
Date: 01 Jun 99 - 09:39 AM

Ah, synchronicity!

Pilgrim, someone else just asked for a modern version of this song (where Willie gets his comeuppance before he is able to kill the woman). CLICK HERE.

Welcome to the Mudcat where these strange co-occurances seem to happen with some frequency. We also have the DigiTrad Database (the DT) with over 6000+ songs in it.

You can search it by going to the upper-right-hand corner of this page where it says "Search the DigiTrad Database". If you type in [banks of the ohio] you will find the song you seek. The brackets [ ] just tell the search engine to look for the entire phrase.

There are a few related songs, CLICK HERE

Enjoy the song!

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: banks of the ohio
From: masato sakurai
Date: 11 Aug 01 - 07:03 AM

Tony Rice and David Grisman play it in their first "Tone Poems" album, but I prefer song versions. Monroe Brothers, Joan Baez, Olivia Newton John are my recommendations. The last two are, of course, women's versions.


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Subject: Lyr Add: BANKS OF THE OHIO (REVISITED) (S W Oates)
From: GUEST,genie
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 03:39 AM

I have a version of "Banks..." from a woman's viewpoint ( tables turned). (The chorus is the same as the traditional one.)

BANKS OF THE OHIO (Revisited)

Parody lyrics by S. W. Oates ©2001

Chorus:
Only say that you'll be mine,
In no other's arms entwine,
Down beside where the waters flow,
Down by the Banks of the Ohio.

I asked my love to take a walk,
Down the aisle to with me to go.
Down beside, where the waters flow,
Down by the banks of the Ohio.
Chorus:

I said, "Oh, please don't do me wrong,
But I'm near five months along."
He said, "How do I know it's mine
Just because we have entwined?"
Chorus:

I held a knife against his shirt,
Because he was a total jerk!
He cried, "Oh, baby, can't you see
That I am unprepared for paternity!"
Chorus:

I took him by his hairy, big hand,
And I led him down where the waters stand.
He cried, "Oh, crap!" as I pushed him in
And watched him as he floated by.
Chorus:

I started home 'twixt twelve and one;
I cried, "Oh, Ma! What have I done?
Killed the only feller I loved
"Cause he done knocked me up and run!"
Chorus:


Note: This version isn't any more uplifting or PC as the original, but it's from the woman's perspective.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: banks of the ohio
From: IanC
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 05:23 AM

I'm interested that there hasn't apparently been a thread about this one, because I've always assumed "Ohio" to be a relatively modern version of "Banks of Red Roses" (one version from DT here). Anyone have more information about the relationship between the two songs or details about the historical background of "The Banks of The Ohio"?

Cheers!
Ian


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: banks of the ohio
From: masato sakurai
Date: 13 Aug 01 - 06:47 AM

Olive Woolley Burt discusses a lot of murder ballads based on historical facts in her American Murder Ballads (Oxford UP, 1958), but this one is not treated. G. Malcolm Laws, Jr. says, "The history of this piece has not been traced, but its similarity to certain English broadsides has been pointed out." (Native American Balladry, rev. ed., 1964, #F5). According to notes in The New Lost City Ramblers Song Book (retitled later as The Old-Time String Band Songbook), "This is one of the unsolved mysteries of American folksong. Although it is compared to 'Omie Wise,' there are no actual records of this specific crime anywhere in England or in the United States. It is mentioned in a few collections (Randolph, and Henry) who report an early version from a 1916 manuscript from the Southern highlands and another from Wyoming ('The Old Peedee'). The best conjecture has this song composed from fragments of other songs, and then passed on old records (Piedmont Los Rollers, Clarence Green, Grayson and Whitter) and has become one of the most popular 'city' folk songs." [Grayson & Whitter's version is "I'll Never Be Yours."] No help, is it? Moreover, I cannot make sure that there is some connection with "Red Roses."


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Subject: Lyr Add: ON THE BANKS OF THE OLD PEEDEE
From: raredance
Date: 16 Aug 01 - 09:38 PM

I decided the obvious place to check was "Ballads and Songs from Ohio" by Mary Eddy (1939). I found the following, which doesn't clear things up at all.

ON THE BANKS OF THE OLD PEEDEE
from Mrs. M E Warner, Melco, Ohio who learned the song near Lyons in Fulton County, Ohio.

1.
My love and I we took a walk,
On the banks of the old Peedee,
And as we walked, we gently talked,
When our wedding day would be.
Only say, only say that you will be mine,
And your home will ever be,
Where the silent waters flow,
On the banks of the old Peedee.

2. (The number 2 is printed but there are no words for it - rr)

3.
He took her by the lily-white hand,
and swung her round and round,
Then threw her into the waters deep,
And there he watched her drown.
Because she said she'd never be mine,
And her home would never be
Where the silent waters flow
On the banks of the old Peedee.

The Peedee River rises from the hills of western North Carolina flows down through the center of the state and enters the Atlantic in South Carolina.

rich r


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: banks of the ohio
From: Zorro
Date: 16 Aug 01 - 09:44 PM

Sounds like it's related to Knoxville Girl sung by the Louvin Bros, way back when, (among others) and maybe Pretty Polly. They all have the same theme.

Z


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: banks of the ohio
From: Genie
Date: 17 Aug 01 - 01:21 AM

But, then, don't a lot of old ballads [have the same theme]?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: banks of the ohio
From: toadfrog
Date: 17 Aug 01 - 01:54 AM

No, absolutely not!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: banks of the ohio
From: pavane
Date: 17 Aug 01 - 05:22 AM

Worth noting that there are at least two different songs under this name. One dates back to at least the 1840's, probably earlier, but is about emigration and settling, not murder. I posted a link to it in another thread.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: banks of the ohio
From: Genie
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 06:05 AM

what thread?


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Subject: Lyr Add: BANKS OF THE OHIO
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 22 Aug 01 - 06:15 AM

Here's another girls-view version:

I asked my love to take a walk
to walk with me a little way
and as we walked along we talked
all about our wedding day

and only say that you'll be mine
and in no other arms entwine
say you'll stay and never go
from beside the pretty banks of the Ohio

I took my lover by the hand
and dragged him down the banks of sand
and there I threw him in for to drown
and watched his sweet lily-white body floating down

and only say that you'll be mine
and in no other arms entwine
say you'll stay and never go
from beside the pretty banks of the Ohio

I bound the weeper round my head
for to show my love was dead
I cried no tear nor prayed no prayer
just turned around and I left my lover there

and only say that you'll be mine
and in no other arms entwine
say you'll stay and never go
from beside the pretty banks of the Ohio

I wandered home twixt twelve and one
smiling on what I had done
I'll let no man take liberty
if he will not then marry me

and only say that you'll be mine
and in no other arms entwine
say you'll stay and never go
from beside the pretty banks of the Ohio

Kris


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: banks of the ohio
From: GUEST,genie
Date: 03 Sep 01 - 09:33 PM

Kris, Where does your female-view version come from? Genie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: banks of the ohio
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 03:07 AM


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: banks of the ohio
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 04:08 AM

I put OHIO in the filter and counted ten threads that had something to do with "The Banks of the Ohio." In this thread (click) Jerry Friedman tried to come up with a murder-free version.

How can such a pretty tune have such grisly lyrics?

Hey, isn't this tune almost the same as "The Ballad of the Green Berets"?
Put silver wings on my son's chest
Make him one of America's best
He'll be a man they'll test one day
Have him win the Green Beret.
-Joe Offer-


Here's the entry on this song from the Traditional Ballad Index:

Banks of the Ohio [Laws F5]

DESCRIPTION: The singer takes his sweetheart walking, hoping to discuss marriage. She seemingly refuses him (because she is too young?). Rather than wait, he throws her into the river to drown. In most versions he is not caught, though in some texts she haunts him
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1915
KEYWORDS: homicide river drowning
FOUND IN: US(MW,Ro,SE,So)
REFERENCES (15 citations):
Laws F5, "On the Banks of the Ohio"
Randolph 160, "Down on the Banks of the Ohio" (2 texts plus an excerpt, 2 tunes)
Eddy 104, "The Murdered Girl" (7 texts, 2 tunes, but Laws considers only the B text -- "On the Banks of the Old Pedee" -- to belong with this ballad)
Gardner/Chickering 20, "The Banks of the River Dee" (1 text plus 2 excerpts and mention of 2 more, 2 tunes)
BrownII 66, "On the Banks of the Ohio" (1 text plus 2 excerpts and mention of 5 more)
BrownSchinhanIV 66, "On the Banks of the Ohio" (1 excerpt, 1 tune)
Morris, #180, "The Wexford Girl" 2 texts, 1 tune; the "A" text and tune being "The Banks of the Ohio" [Laws F5] and the "B" text "The Wexford Girl (The Oxford, Lexington, or Knoxville Girl; The Cruel Miller; etc.)" [Laws P35])
MHenry-Appalachians, p. 76, "On the Banks of the Ohio" (1 text)
Asch/Dunson/Raim, p. 110, "Down on the Banks of the Ohio" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cohen/Seeger/Wood, pp. 138-139, "Banks of the Ohio" (1 text, 1 tune)
Botkin-MRFolklr, p. 577, "On the Banks of the Ohio" (1 text, 1 tune)
LPound-ABS, 45, p. 108, "The Old Shawnee"; p. 109, "On the Banks of the Old Pedee" (2 texts)
Darling-NAS, pp. 201-202, "On the Banks of the Ohio" (1 text)
Silber-FSWB, p. 180, "Banks Of The Ohio" (1 text)
DT 628, BNKSOHIO* BANOHIO2(*) (BANOHIO3)

Roud #157
RECORDINGS:
Clarence Ashley, Doc Watson, Clint Howard & Jean Ritchie, "Banks of the Ohio" (on WatsonAshley01)
Blue Sky Boys, "Down On The Banks of The Ohio" (Bluebird 6480, 1933; Montgomery Ward M-5033, 1936)
Callahan Brothers, "Down on the Banks of the Ohio" (Banner 5-12-60/Conqueror 8588 [as "On the Banks of the Ohio"], 1935)
[G. B.] Grayson & [Henry] Whitter, "I'll Never Be Yours" (Gennett 6373/Champion 15447 [as by Norman Gayle]/Silvertone 8160 [as by Dillard Sanders]/Supertone 9247 [as by Sanders]/Challenge 393 [as by David Foley], 1927; on GraysonWhitter01)
Clarence Green, "On the Banks of the Ohio" (Columbia 15311-D, 1928)
Bascom Lamar Lunsford, "On the Banks of the Ohio" (on BLLunsford02)
Monroe Brothers, "Banks of the Ohio" (Bluebird B-7385, 1938)
Glen & Jessie Neaves & band, "Banks of the Ohio" (on HalfCen1)
New Lost City Ramblers, "Banks of the Ohio" (on NLCR02)
Red Patterson's Piedmont Log Rollers, "Down on the Banks of the Ohio" (Victor 35874, 1928)
Pete Seeger, "Banks of the Ohio" (on PeteSeeger31)
Bill Shafer, "Broken Engagements" (Vocalion 5413, 1930, rec. 1929)
Frank Stanton [pseud. for Walter Coon], "On the Banks of the Ohio" (Superior 2544, 1930)
Ernest V. Stoneman, "Down on the Banks of the Ohio" (Edison 52312, 1928)
Ruby Vass, "Banks of the Ohio" (on LomaxCD1702)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. The Wexford Girl (The Oxford, Lexington, or Knoxville Girl; The Cruel Miller; etc.) [Laws P35]
File: LF05

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: banks of the ohio
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 05:19 AM

Genie - I sort of cobbled it together from bits and peices of existing variants & other songs - with a bit of my own glue to hold it together. I'm a bit of a vengeful bitch at times, so I needed to inject a bit of venom before I could sing it with any conviction.
And I wasn't keen on the getting caught by the coppers bit - so I left that out.

Kris


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: banks of the ohio
From: GUEST
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 10:00 PM

Kris, I'm sure many a great folksong was written by (or about) a vengeful bitch. Thanks for the song.

Genie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: banks of the ohio
From: Joe Offer
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 10:43 PM

Kris, I hope you don't mind, but I don't ever want to find myself alone with you.
But it's a great song, it really is.
What's a "weeper"?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: banks of the ohio
From: KingBrilliant
Date: 05 Sep 01 - 05:21 AM

Dunno Joe - I pinched it out of 'Lowlands'. I kind of thought it was maybe a bit of weeping willow - but that might be because I was thinking about the All Around My Hat thing.
And you're never alone with me - there's all those other ones in my head that keep on whispering and ......... :>)
Glad you liked it Genie.

Kristin


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: banks of the ohio
From: GUEST,Wanda
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 04:50 AM

I never knew there were so many older versions of this song. I heard recently about a new version that was not as bloody (waterlogged?) -- i.e., not negative. While I like the old one, non-PC as it is, I'd like to hear that one, too.

Wanda


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: banks of the ohio
From: GUEST,Lanfranc at the orifice
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 06:31 AM

Hadn't spotted it before, but there are similarities between "Banks of the Ohio" and "Willow Garden", except that in the latter, the murderer really makes sure of his crime by poisoning, stabbing and drowning his victim!

"Willow Garden", in turn, relates back to the earlier "Oxford Tragedy", and so on.

Ain't folk music wonderful!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: banks of the ohio
From: GUEST,Wanda
Date: 26 Sep 01 - 04:02 AM

Still interested in the non-violent version of "Banks of Ohio," if anyone knows it.

Click for related thread


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: parody
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Oct 03 - 07:50 PM


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Subject: Lyr Add: BANKS OF THE OHIO
From: GUEST,big_garr_2002@yahoo.com
Date: 09 Jul 04 - 10:31 PM

Here are the lyrics to the version I know:

BANKS OF THE OHIO

I asked my love to take a walk,
Just a little walk, just a little way,
Down beside where the waters flow,
Down by the banks of the Ohio.

CHORUS: And only say that you'll be mine,
In no other's arms entwined,
Down beside where the waters flown,
Down by the banks of the Ohio.

I held a knife against her breast
As into my arms she pressed.
She cried, "O Willie, don't murder me.
I'm not prepared for eternity."

I started home between twelve and one.
I cried, "My God, what have I done?
I killed the only one I loved,
Because she would not be my bride."

REPEAT CHORUS

Down by the banks of the Ohio.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: banks of the ohio
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 12:36 AM

Another great murder song done by Johnny Cash is "Long Black Veil"....great song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: banks of the ohio
From: Shanty Filker
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 02:12 AM

Anyone interested in murder ballads would do well to read this page:

KSCU Murder Ballad Special

KSCU is a college radio station, and the then-host of a trad/bluegrass/old-timey show called "Topsoil" did a three hour special program that was just great. The page in the clicky is his background material on the songs, starting with Banks of the Ohio, which he relates to "The Knoxville Girl" and "Rose Connely."

I don't know if anyone knows what happined to the host, Steve Gardner, but where ever he is, blessings on him for putting this show together. I've listened to it over and over.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BANKS OF THE OHIO (from B L Lunsford)
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 05 Jan 05 - 10:15 AM

Bascom Lamar Lunsford, the great physician, singer/banjoist, folksong collector, folk music festival organizer, on a 10 inch Folkways LP that I've had since the mid-50s, sings a version of this song.

It is similar but not exactly the same as that in the DT, so I'll submit it here:

THE BANKS OF THE OHIO

I asked my love to take a walk
Just a walk, a little way
That she and I may have a talk
All about our wedding day.

CHO: Then only say that you'll be mine
And our home will happy be
Down beside where the waters flow
On the banks of the Ohio.


I held a knife close to her breast
Closely to her bosom pressed.
Oh Willie dear, don't murder me
For I am unprepared to die.

CHO:

I took her by the lily white hand
Led her to the river strand
Plunged her in where she would drown
And stood and watched where she floated down.

CHO:

Returning home 'twixt twelve and one
Thinking 'bout the deed I done
I drowned the girl that I loved best
Because she would not be my bride.

CHO:

Maybe it's only because this was the first version I heard, but I prefer this to that in the DT and the ones given earlier in this thread. My reasons have to do mainly with the fact that this text scans better for singing, in my opinion. That in the DT and given earlier have awkward scansion, in my opinion.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Banks of the Ohio
From: GUEST,Deborah Rubin
Date: 19 Aug 08 - 02:00 PM

Can someone provide guitar chords for the tune?   Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Banks of the Ohio
From: 12-stringer
Date: 19 Aug 08 - 02:54 PM

[G]I asked my love to take a [D7]walk
Just to walk a little [G]way
And as we walked, so may we'll [C]talk
All a[G]bout [D7] our wedding [G]day.


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Subject: Lyr Add: BANKS OF THE OHIO (from Kossoy Sisters)
From: GUEST,Don Fahey
Date: 01 Dec 13 - 07:50 PM

Here is another version sung by a male narrator. This is the version sung by the Kossoy Sisters on their 1959 record "Bowling Green".


BANKS OF THE OHIO (from Kossoy Sisters)

I asked my love to take a walk
Only for a little way;
And as we walked, we'd have a talk
Of our approaching wedding day.

(chorus)
`Then only say that you'll be mine
And our home so happy be
Down beside some water flow
On the banks of the Ohio.'

I drew a knife across her breast
As gently in my arms she pressed
Crying `O Willie don't you murder me,
for I am unprepared to die!'

(chorus)
'Then only say that you'll be mine
And our home so happy be
Down beside some water flow
On the banks of the Ohio.'

I took her by her lily white hand.
I led her down to the river strand.
I punched her in where she would drown,
And stood and watched as she floated down.

(chorus)
`Then only say that you'll be mine
And our home so happy be
Down beside some water flow
On the banks of the Ohio.'

While walking home 'tween twelve and one,
Thinking of the deed I'd done;
I killed the girl that I loved best
Because she would not be my bride.

(chorus)
`Then only say that you'll be mine
And our home so happy be
Down beside some water flow
On the banks of the Ohio.'


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Subject: RE: Origins: Banks of the Ohio
From: GUEST,sacschneid
Date: 03 Jul 16 - 11:03 PM

is there a song where she turns the tables and kills him


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Subject: RE: Origins: Banks of the Ohio
From: Susan of DT
Date: 04 Jul 16 - 07:34 AM

sacschneid - there are two versions in the thread above.

There are some older songs were the ghost of the girl gets revenge on the man:

Dreadful Ghost

Willie's Fatal Visit


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Subject: RE: Origins: Banks of the Ohio
From: Felipa
Date: 04 Jul 16 - 07:58 AM

The McPeake family of Belfast, Ireland has a song called the Banks of the OBD
(obeedee? obidi?) with lyrics similar to the Banks of the Old Pedee.
The notes on the album cover mention the similarity to the American Old Pedee song, but don't say where the McPeakes learned this song.

Different tune from that of Banks of the O-hi-o but it's clear that the latter is based on an older song.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Banks of the Ohio
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Dec 16 - 01:09 PM

I think the Kossoy Sisters are saying "plunge", not "punch."


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Subject: RE: Origins: Banks of the Ohio
From: Mrrzy
Date: 20 Dec 16 - 01:23 PM

Unprepared for Paternity! Ha ha ha ha ha!

But come on, is there really no actual murder from the news where we can discover he didn't do it, or does the fact that there are never any names mentioned mean no real people?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Banks of the Ohio
From: GUEST,CoriSCapnSkip
Date: 04 Aug 17 - 12:30 AM

Here is one where a guy murdered a young girl for breaking their engagement, in Ohio, and there was stabbing, but no river involved. https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=11500870 Seems to be a case of life imitating art as this took place in 1869 and some versions seem much earlier, and it was the brother who witnessed the attack from a distance, not the murderer, who was named Willy.

Link fixed. -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins: Banks of the Ohio
From: GUEST,CoriSCapnSkip
Date: 04 Aug 17 - 12:32 AM

If the link doesn't work, look up Louiza Catharine Fox, Egypt Valley, Ohio. Also a couple of hauntings connected with this one.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Banks of the Ohio
From: GUEST,bill aldworth
Date: 30 Aug 17 - 10:44 AM

Hi there,

my direct question is; does a copyright exist on the song and if so

who owns it ?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Banks of the Ohio
From: leeneia
Date: 31 Aug 17 - 05:16 PM

Bill, if you go upthread to Joe Offer's post of Sept 4, 2001, you will see that the earliest version is from 1915. That means it's so old it isn't copyright anymore.

People will claim to have copyright based on their arrangement, but you can't copyright an arrangement. But if you're nervous about it, change a chord or change the strum, and you have a new arrangement.

It's a creepy song, but the chorus is so hypnotic.....


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Subject: RE: Origins: Banks of the Ohio
From: Richie
Date: 31 Aug 17 - 10:05 PM

Hi,

It's likely the Banks of the Ohio evolved from the murder ballads that are part of or related to the British ballads of the Berkshire Tragedy although there is only one stanza in common:

I asked her kindly to take a walk
A little piece away
That we might have a joyful talk
About our wedding day.

After this stanza the murder ballad is American and possibly based on an unknown local murder. The chorus is also unique and the ballad was probably adapted in the mid-late 1800s about a murder on the Pedee River which in the 1920s or earlier was changed to the Ohio River.

Yes, Banks of the Ohio has a copyright, in fact many. The first copyright with that title (Piedmont Log Rollers with Red Patterson, "Down on the Banks of the Ohio" 1928) could claim ownership since the copyright is after 1923. The song in different forms obviously predates 1923 so it is public domain (P.D).

Arrangements can be copyrighted but unless you have a hit record that is exactly like an earlier version -- you have nothing to worry about. The song is Pedee (P.D.)

Richie


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Subject: RE: Origins: Banks of the Ohio
From: leeneia
Date: 01 Sep 17 - 10:45 AM

Despite all the different versions discussed in this thread, the villain being named Willie has been mentioned six times.

Somewhere on the Mudcat there's a thread about the shameful prejudice against Willies in folklore. Johnnies may be lovable or handsomely rakish, but Willies are usually bad. Too bad I can't find the thread.

I think the reason this song lives on is the five-beat notes in a 4/4 song. Such as:


down be -si - 2- 3- 4- 5 where the wa-ters flo -2- 3- 4- 5

etc


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