Banks Of The Nile

(chords & discussion)

Words & Music:

Traditional English


I first heard this tune when a friend gave me "The Collection" by the remarkable Martin Carthy (an album which blew the doors off what I thought guitar playing to be).  Finding tabs for this is difficult.  I suggest buying the sheet music of your favorite version.  Below are some suggestions & further discussions.  As with any traditional English folk song, there are many variations.



Transcribed by No'am Newman

intro: Am D Am7 D  alt:  Am  D  Am7  D  Am  D  G  Bm  Em  Am]


    Am  D              G     Bm Em                     Am   Bm7*

 Oh hark! the drums do beat, my love, no longer can we stay.

Am          D        Am G    C                   D      Em

The bugle-horns are sounding clear, and we must march away.

Am            D       Am G C                        D     Em

We're ordered down to Portsmouth, and it's many the weary mile.

   Am7       D      Am G Am     G            Am     D Am7 D

To join the British Army on the banks of the Nile.


* one could play the Am shape shifted up two frets (without barre) for variation



Alt. version 1:

I think that the end of the 1st line goes to D instead of Bm7, and that

the ends of the 2nd and 3rd lines go to Bm after the Em.  Also, the

Fotheringay version may be in Cm (capoed) rather than Am.



Alt. version 2:

Line 1 alt:  Bm7  Am   G   C   D

Line 2 alt:  Em   Am   D   Am  G    C   D

Line 3 alt:  Em   Am7  D   Am  G

Line 4 alt:  Am   G    Am  D   Am7  D


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