A Story of Love That Went Wrong (Very Wrong)

How to write a story? Ya gotta have a story. You can write your pencil to the nub, but “it don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing”

Woody Guthrie said that it’s easy to write a folk song. I paraphrase but he said something like this:
“Well, I just take an old melody and I change it up a bit. Or I use the harmony part. For the story it’s usually best to throw in a love interest. Either that or a murder. …..Preferably both.”

Which brings us to today’s story/song, the folk classic Banks of the Ohio, which throws in both love and murder. And does it in spades. I, and my partner in crime Preston Maybank, love doing this song. So click to hear Bumbas and Maybank on the banks of the Ohio.

I asked my love to take a walk
Just a walk just a ways with me
Down beside where the waters flow
Down by the banks of the Ohio

So only say that you’ll be mine
In our home we’ll happy be
Down beside where the waters flow
Down by the banks of the Ohio

I took her by her lily white hand
I led her down that bank of sand
I pushed her in where she would drown
I watched her as she floated down

So only say that you’ll be mine
In our home we’ll happy be
Down beside where the waters flow
Down by the banks of the Ohio

I started home ‘tween twelve and one
I cried “My God, What have I done?
Killed the only woman I loved
Because she would not be my bride”

So only say that you’ll be mine
In our home we’ll happy be
Down beside where the waters flow
Down by the banks of the Ohio

The very next day at half past four
The sheriff walked right through the door
He said “Now son, don’t try to run
You’re going to pay for this deed you’ve done”

So only say that you’ll be mine
In our home we’ll happy be
Down beside where the waters flow
Down by the banks of the Ohio

15 thoughts on “A Story of Love That Went Wrong (Very Wrong)

  1. Love the bluesy feel.. and the lyrics…?? what can anyone say.. Great composition..

    Great vocals on the lead…

    ( I think you need a female back up – some llting to go with the male bass of it all. A little contrast in vocals..)
    Lovely tune!

  2. Thanks, that was fun. I was expecting a final verse where, after having been hanged until he is dead, the protagonist’s ashes are scattered in the river and so he ends up being ironically reunited with his would-be bride.

  3. Nice rendition of this song. It isn’t stated where “along the Ohio” this takes place, but it could be anywhere, as it is well known that the entire river valley is populated by scoundrels of the lowest order.

    1. Listen, I’m from the Bronx, not far from that great waterway called the Bronx River, so I can’t comment on the scoundrels on the Ohio. But it is a long and mighty river with lots of room for scoundrels.

  4. Wow, Bumba ! Your love for music is so contagious – I am always smiling at your posts. Love ’em all ! Yes, the pics mingle well here ! Brava, Bumba !!

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