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Handsome Molly
Composer: Traditional

Handsome Molly was played by the Hart Valley Drifters (a pre-Grateful Dead group that featured Jerry Garcia) at the College of San Mateo in San Mateo on November 10th 1962. The lyrics used for that performance of the song are given at the bottom of this page.

Grayson and Whitter recorded at least two versions of the song in October 1927.



Recordings

no info Single (Nobody's Darling / Handsome Molly), Grayson and Whitter, 1927? (Gennett)
no info Single (Train 45 / Handsome Molly), Grayson and Whitter, 1927? (Victor)
no info Smokey Mountain Ballads, Harry West and Jeannie, 1958?
no info Old Time Music At Clarence Ashley's, Vol. 1, Doc Watson and Gaither Carlton, 1961
info Sing And Play Folk Songs And Bluegrass, The Country Gentlemen, 1961
info The Newport Folk Festival 1960 Vol 2, Various Artists (Peggy Seeger), 1961
info Folk Song Festival, Stanley Brothers, 1962
info Old Time Country Music, Mike Seeger, 1962
info Bluegrass Goes to College, Hylo Brown, 1962
info Traditional Music from Grayson and Carroll Counties, Virginia, Various Artists (Glen Neaves & Roscoe Russell), 1962
no info Old Time Country Music, Mike Seeger, 1962
info Ian & Sylvia, Ian & Sylvia, 1962
info Folk Banjo Styles, Eric Weissberg, Tom Paley, Art Rosenbaum, Marshall Brickman, 1962
no info Traditional Songs and Ballads of Appalachia, Frank Proffitt, 1962
info The Mountain Music Sound Of The Stanley Brothers, Various Artists (Hylo Brown), 1962
info On The Road, The Country Gentlemen, 1963
no info Alex and Ola Belle Campbell, Alex and Olabelle Campbell with the New River Boys, 1963
no info 20 Early Country Favorites, Hylo Brown, 1967
no info Sings Bluegrass With Five String Banjo, Hylo Brown, 1967
no info Teton Tea Party with Charlie Brown, Charlie Brown, 1967
no info The Recordings of Grayson and Whitter, Grayson and Whitter, 196?
no info Sings and Plays American Folksongs For Banjo, Peggy Seeger, 196?
no info Chicago Mob Scene: A Folk Song Jam Session, Various Artists (Larry Ehrlich), 196?
no info Breaking Out, Flatt & Scruggs, 1970
info The Essential Doc Watson, Doc Watson, 1973
info Sweet Dreams and Quiet Desires, Borderline, 1973
no info 15th Annual Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Contest, Various Artists (Kevin Carr), 1975
no info From The Maple On The Hill, Wade Mainer, 1976
no info Going Down Lee Highway 1927-1929 Recordings, Grayson and Whitter, 1977
no info Country Bluegrass Jamboree, Various Artists (Alex Campbell), 1977
no info Collectors Edition, Charlie Moore, Bill Napier & the Dixie Partners, 1978
no info The Bergerfolk, Vol. 4: Pack Up Your Sorrows, The Bergerfolk, 1978
no info Rising Fawn String Ensemble, Norman Blake, 1979
no info Cider In The Kitchen, Howard Bursen, 1980
no info Country Music Memories, Vol. 1, Charlie Moore, 1981
no info Hits From Home, Tom Bledsoe and Rich Kirby, 1982
no info Wild Over Us, Duffy Brothers, 1982
no info Grinning In Your Face, Martin Simpson, 1983
info Evo's Autoharp, Evo Bluestein, 1985
no info Jim Post & Friends, Jim Post & Friends, 1987
no info In Memory, Hart Brothers, 1987
no info Once again, Southern Blend, 1988
no info Acoustic Music To Suit Most Occasions, The Deighton Family, 1988
no info Odd Man In, Tim O'Brien, 1991
no info Beloved Awake, Lorraine Lee, 1991
no info The Phil Salazar Band, The Phil Salazar Band, 1992
no info Ballad of Thunder Road, The Fritts Family, 1992
info Treasures Untold, Doc Watson, 1991
info Folk Songs & Bluegrass, The Country Gentlemen, 1991
no info Traditional Dulcimer: Galax Style, Phyllis Gaskin, 1991
info 1959-1963, Flatt and Scruggs, 1992
info On a Cold Winter Night, Tom Paley with Ben Paley, 1993
no info Wandering Spirit, Mick Jagger, 1993
info Early Starday-King Years 1958-1961, The Stanley Brothers, 1994
info Original Folkways Recordings of Doc Watson and Clarence Ashley, 1960-1962, Clarence Ashley and Doc Watson , 1994
no info The Collection, Martin Simpson, 1994
no info Carolina Calling Me, Bass Mountain Boys, 1994
no info W. C. Henderson & Company, Wayne Henderson, 1994
no info We Don't Care Where Your Grandparents Are From, Sunday's Well, 1994
no info Bootleg, Tempest, 1995
info Short Life of Trouble: Songs of Grayson and Whitter, Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys, 1996
info Stanley Series, Vol. 3 #4, Stanley Brothers, 1996
no info Lou Reid & Carolina, Lou Reid & Carolina, 1996
no info Rural Route 2, Bob Bovee and Gail Heil, 1996
no info The Rose Grew Round the Briar, Vol. 2, Various Artists (Grayson & Whitter), 1997
no info Thistle, Noah Saterstrom, 1998
no info Grandad's Porch, Gingerthistle, 1998
no info Cotton Bales and Barley, Un-Reconstructed, 1998
info The Recordings of Grayson & Whitter: 1928-1930, Grayson & Whitter, 1999
no info Cider in the Kitchen, Howie Bursen, 1999
no info 30 Dobro Classics, Nashville Dobros, 1999
no info 30 Fiddle Classics, Nashville Dobros, 1999
no info 30 Guitar Classics, Nashville Guitars, 1999
no info Music From the Lost Provinces: Old Time String Bands 1927-1931, Various Artists (Grayson & Whitter), 1999
no info Single, Alex Campbell, Ola Belle and Deacon, 19??
info Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order, Vol. 1: 1927-1928, Grayson & Whitter, 2000
no info Country Music Memories. Vol. 1 & 2, Charlie Moore & his Dixie Partners, 2000
no info Bank Trollers: Songs of the Sea, Bob Webb, 2000
no info Folk Heritage, Vol. 2, Various Artists (Martin Simpson), 2000
info The Complete Vanguard Studio Recordings, Ian & Sylvia, 2001
info On the Road (And More), The Country Gentlemen, 2001
info Bob Dylan Live 1961-2000, Bob Dylan, 2001
no info Shadows on the Ground, Kieran Kane, 2002
no info Preserves Uncanned, The Strawbs, 2002
no info Time Stands Still, The Konnarock Critters, 2002
no info Down Home Instrumentals, Vol. 1, Stones River Ranch Boys, 2002
no info 16 Super Hits, Nashville Banjos, 2002
no info Roots of Bluegrass, Various Artists (Grayson & Whitter), 2002
info The Other Side of the Mountain: Bluegrass, Newgrass and Beyond, Various Artists (New Grange), 2002
info Rural Roots of Bluegrass, Wayne Erbsen/Laura Boosinger, 2003
no info Lovesick and Sorrow, Hylo Brown, 2003
no info Kentucky peace of mind, Dwight McCall, 2003
no info Blue Grass, The Konnarock Critters, 2003
info An Evening Long Ago: Live 1956, The Stanley Brothers, 2004
no info Half Moon Bay, James Alan Shelton, 2004
no info Time Again, Dirk Powell, 2004
info Live at the Gaslight 1962, Bob Dylan, 2005
no info Evoharp, Evo Bluestein, 2005
no info Breakfast, Kate MacLeod & The Pancakes, 2005
no info Walkin' Down the Line, Rick Robbins, 2005
no info Best of Hylo Brown, Vol. 2, Hylo Brown, 2006
no info Life in a Song, New Found Road, 2006
no info Down the Road I'll Go, Curtis C.Bouterse, 2006
no info The Back Road Home, Tad Marks, 2006
no info The Great Compromise, The Hog Hollar Stringband, 2006
no info 30 Classics, Nashville Banjos, 2006
no info 30 Classics, Nashville Fiddles, 2006
no info True Bluegrass Essentials, Various Artists (Lou Reid & Carolina), 2006
info Born into the Whisper: Waterbug Anthology, Vol. 8, Various Artists (Kate MacLeod and Pancakes), 2006
info Appalachian Stomp Down, Various Artists (Grayson & Whitter), 2006
no info Radio Hill, Detour, 2007
no info Land of the Sky, Down Trodden String Band, 2007
no info Grassroots Bluegrass, Various Artists (Jim Greer & The Mac-O-Chee Valley Folks), 2007
info Bluegrass in the Smokies, Various Artists (Hylo Brown), 2007
no info Breaking Out/Boy Named Sue, Flatt & Scruggs, 2009
no info Two Days in August, The New Mountain Kickers, 2009
no info Sawmill Road 2: Fire on the Kettle, Sawmill Road, 2009
no info The Homeplace, Hans Creek String Band, 2009
no info Vintage Bluegrass Essentials: 40 Bluegrass Classics, Various Artists (Hylo Brown), 2009

Lyrics

The lyrics of the version played by the Hart Valley Drifters are as follows

I wish I was in London,
Or some other seaport Town,
Set my foot in a steamboat,
And sail the ocean 'round.

While sailing around the ocean,
While sailing around the sea,
I'd think of handsome Molly,
Wherever she might be.

Don't you remember, Molly,
You gave me your right hand,
Said that if you marry,
That I would be the man.

Now you've broke your promise,
Go home with whom you please,
My poor heart is breaking,
You're lying at your ease.

Went to church last Sunday,
She passed me on by,
Knew her mind was changing,
By the roving of her eye.

Roving of her eye,
Roving of her eye,
Knew her mind was changing,
By the roving of her eye.

I wish I was in London,
Or some other seaport town,
Set my foot in a steamboat,
And sail the ocean 'round.

Sail around the ocean,
Sail around the sea,
Think of handsome Molly,
Wherever she might be.

 
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