Banks of the Ohio

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - View original article

 
Jump to: navigation, search

"Banks of the Ohio" ( Laws F5, Roud 157) is 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. It is also known by the longer title Down on the Banks of the Ohio.

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, such as by New Lost City Ramblers, The Wolfe Tones, G. B. Grayson and Henry Whitter (as "I'll Never Be Yours"), Ernest Stoneman, Clayton McMichen, Bascom Lamar Lunsford, The Carter Family, Blue Sky Boys (whose version, performed in 1936, appears in the soundtrack of the 1973 film Paper Moon), Johnny Cash, Porter Wagoner, Pete Seeger, Monroe Brothers, Joan Baez, Olivia Newton-John (with Mike Sammes, in 1971, her second commercial single in the United States), Dolly Parton, Dave Guard and the Whiskeyhill Singers, Mike Ireland and Holler, The Callagan Brothers, and Doc Watson, 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".

The song and its title served 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.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Daddy Cool" by Drummond
Australian ARIA Singles Chart number-one single (Olivia Newton-John version)
25 October 1971 - 22 November 1971
Succeeded by
"Maggie May" by Rod Stewart