Talk:Banks of the Ohio

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Untitled[edit]

Anyone know if this is related to "The Bonny Banks o Fordie", Child 14? I heard that it was, and in some versions there are uncanny resemblances, but I don't know for sure. Wells 298 01:09, 25 August 2006 (UTC)

The only similarity is a man threatening a woman with a knife, possibly by a river bank. But there are three women (sisters) and the man is a robber and apparently a stranger — though he would like one of them to be his wife. In the version I'm listening to right now, the stranger kills two sisters one after another because they refuse to marry him. OK, that's another similarity, but these women don't want to marry a robber they've never met. And there's no suggestion that he loves either of them. But before he can kill the third he discovers he's a long lost brother. So he kills himself and has his murdered sisters buried at his feet. Although I can picture an illustration which might serve for both ballads, I can't think of any change of detail that would make them remotely similar in tone. And the Banks of the Ohio just wouldn't work with a cast of four. Plus, the movement is wrong. The man encounters each woman; he doesn't lead anyone anywhere. There's a version called The Bonny Banks O' Fordie on the album The Muckle Sangs, but it's only a two-verse fragment. There's a full (and highly melodramatic) version by John Jacob Niles called Bonny Farday or Babylon. The ballads are so dissimilar, there's not case for even saying 'not to be confused with'. DavidCrosbie (talk) 02:37, 27 December 2012 (UTC)
There's actually a Wikipedia article Babylon (ballad) DavidCrosbie (talk) 12:43, 28 December 2012 (UTC)


It bears an uncanny resemblance to Hanged I Shall Be too. Liam Markham 22:56, 14 October 2007 (UTC)

Pretty Polly[edit]

The article as it stands makes incorrect statements about this ballad's relationship to "Pretty Polly." In "Pretty Polly" Willie leads Polly over hills and through valleys to a place where he has prepared to murder her by digging her grave in advance. He stabs her, buries her, and flees the scene. In "Banks of the Ohio" he says "I threw her in the river there to drown, and watched her as she floated down." In longer versions of "Pretty Polly," he is haunted by Polly's ghost, and in some versions she kills him. None of this is in "Ohio." Yet the article on "Ohio" claims they "tell the same story," and cites no sources for this or anything else. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 140.147.236.194 (talk) 14:18, 24 October 2013 (UTC)

The songs are completely different in tone and largely different in narrative content. In "Banks of the Ohio", the narrator explains his motive and spends much of the song repenting his deed. A long refrain sets a calm reflective tone, recalling his former love and hope — and invites us to sing along. I've tried to express this in an alteration to the Background section. DavidCrosbie (talk) 22:57, 2 July 2015 (UTC)

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