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Banks of the Ohio - Chords, Lyrics and Origins

Origins

The chords for Banks of the Ohio, which is also known as 'Down on the Banks of the Ohio', are very simple - C, G7, C7 and F with a capo at the fourth fret.  The song is beautifully sung in Bluegrass style by Doc Watson in the YouTube video below, and there is also some lovely picking.

Banks of the Ohio is a classic American murder ballad written in the nineteenth century.  If you want to see it in comic book format, look here.  Here's a video that shows you how to play 'Banks of the Ohio':

Chords

Capo at 4th Fret


Verse

C                                          G7

I asked my love to take a walk

                                       C
Just a little ways with me

                   C7                                  F
And as we walked and we would talk


 
     C        G7                        C
All about       our wedding day



Chorus

C                                           G7
Darling say that you'll be mine

                                            C
In our home we'll happy be

                C7                                   F
Down beside where the waters flow

 
           C         G7                  C
On the banks       of the Ohio

Lyrics

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 wedding day.

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 between 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 four
The sherrif walked right to my door
He said, "Young man, don't you try to run.
You'll pay for this awful crime you've done."

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.

Other American Folk Songs
Other Traditional Folk Songs