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Banks of the Ohio

 

Banks of the Ohio – Olivia Newton John

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

And only say that you’ll be mine
In no others’ arms entwine
Down beside where the waters flow
Down by the banks of the Ohio

I held a knife against his breast
As into my arms he pressed
He cried “my love, don’t you murder me
I’m not prepared for eternity”

I wandered home ‘tween twelve and one
I cried, “My God, what have I done?”
I’ve killed the only man I love
He would not take me for his bride

And only say that you’ll be mine
In no others’ arms entwine
Down beside where the waters flow
Down by the banks of the Ohio

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FACTS ABOUT THE SONG

“‘Banks of the Ohio'” was originally a 19th century murder ballad, written by unknown authors, in which “Willie” invites his young lover for a walk during which she rejects his marriage proposal. Once they are alone on the river bank, he murders the young woman.

 

The first recording of the song was by Red Patterson’s Piedmont Log Rollers on August 12, 1927. The song has since been recorded numerous times by artists such as Johnny Cash, Joan Baez and more famously by Olivia Newton-John with slightly different lyrics when sung by a female. The song is similar in subject to “Pretty Polly”, and likely tells the same story (Both songs date from approximately the same time, tell roughly the same story, and feature a villain named “Willie”).

Another not so well known version of the song is entitled “On the Banks of the Old Pedee.”

Also, the song and its title serve as the theme song for, and title of, a long-running radio series broadcast of bluegrass music on WAMU-PBS and Bluegrass Country, hosted by Fred Bartenstein and produced for the International Bluegrass Music Museum, near the Ohio River in Owensboro, Kentucky.

 

Enjoy this Video Presentation of The Banks of the Ohio

 

 
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