Banks of the Ohio

We haven’t posted Banks of the Ohio in quite a while. How long did you think your luck could hold out?

I’ve been playing Banks of the Ohio since Hector was a pup. The expression “Since Hector was a pup”, by the way, was a Chick Hearnism of the first order, being not only senseless, but also beautiful. I always thought that Chick was a crumby basketball announcer, but I loved him anyway. To continue, Banks of the Ohio was one of the early folk songs I heard and learned to play. It was on one of Joan Baez’ early albums. She played it with the Greenbriar Boys. It’s a traditional American folksong of unknown origin, probably a hundred and fifty years old. It tells a terrible story. It’s a terribly sad lyric. So please sing along. I used two tracks. There are several versions of the lyrics. Joan Baez has our protagonist/antagonist stab his beloved with a knife. Doc Watson’s lyrics and Bill Monroe’s keep it to a simple drowning – then include the sheriff’s arrest the next day.

I asked my love to take a walk
Just a little ways with me
And as we walked and we would talk
All about our weddingday

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

I took her by her pretty white hand
I let her down that bank of sand
I pushed her in where she would drown
Lord, I saw her as she floated down

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

Returning home about twelve or one
Thinking “Lord, what a deed I’ve done?”
I killed the girl I love, you see
Because she would not marry me

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

The very next day at half past fourThe sherrif walked right to my doorAnd he says “Young man, don’t you try to runYou’ll pay for this awful crime you’ve done”Darling say that you’ll be mineIn our home we’ll happy beDown beside where the waters flowOn the banks of the Ohio

9 thoughts on “Banks of the Ohio

  1. If you love ’em and can’t have ’em them – kill ’em.

    Now how immature can that be?

    Reminded me of a kid I knew from elementary school who destroyed a toy that another kid owned–and just because he wanted it and the second kid refused to let him have it.
    And that kid from elementary school was 16 when he did what he did.

    Oh well.

    Have a great start to the week,
    Eric

    1. Love those kids. Woody Guthrie said that it’s easy to write a folk song. He said he just uses an old melody from another song. For lyrics he said to throw in a love story. Or a murder. And even best is to have a love story AND a murder.

      1. That sounds like a great recipe, my friend.

        Judge: And why did you love him?

        Accused: Because I wanted to murder him dead.

        Judge: Why did you want him dead?

        Accused: Now that I’ve a love story and a murder, I can write a folk song.

        Judge: Here’s an opening ditty for ya. A Hangman and his Rope. Forlorn no more, for now he found a Dope.

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