Tab: Down Beside The Ohio, as recorded by Obray Ramsey

I came across Obray Ramsey's music a few months ago when friend sent me a link to Allen's archive of early and old country music, where you can download several of his albums. The albums were recorded in the late 50s and early 60s, and are a fantastic example of real old-time banjo picking and singing.

So with a new found love for Obray's music I set about learning "Down Beside The Ohio" from the album "Obray Ramsey Sings Folksongs From The Gateways To The Great Smokies", one of my favorite Obray songs. The first thing to confused me was what tuning he was using, it sounded like G, but lower, and then I realized the recordings (taken directly from old scratchy vinyl) were about half a tone flat. I'm unsure if Obray is tuned flat or the records were played a little too slow), but I tuned my Banjo to F# and I was in business. I have read that Obray plays a two figure style, but "Down Beside The Ohio" sounds closer to the recording when you use three finger rolls. I also love the way Obray just vamps on the verses allowing plenty of room for the vocal performance to shine through, and also allowing for the theme to used repetitively through out the song as solo breaks. Below I have tabbed the intro, the instrumental breaks are just variations of this and he simply vamps the verses, using open G, D7 and C chords.


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About Me

I have been playing guitar for over 20 years, at first playing in indie bands, followed by a long stint playing rockabilly on the streets of Oxford, a short excursion into dance music, followed by looking at early blues styles. Now after a few years of listening to Dylan, Guthrie, and early Americana I find myself in possession of a banjo, and I'm addicted! Currently I play Banjo and Guitar in an Oxford based group called Swindlestock, you can hear our music our myspace page.

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