Handsome Molly

Grayson and Whitter

Handsome Molly is a traditional banjo and fiddle tune known to practically all old time country players. Molly appeared in the Cecil Sharp collection in 1918 and was recorded by Grayson and Whitter in 1929 on Victor records but probably was already quite an old tune even then. . Mike Seeger popularized it again in his first solo album for Folkways in 1962.

I'm playing the banjo in one of Peggy Seeger's "dulcimer tunings", gDGDD. I'm taking up the fiddle again and was brave enough to add a little fiddle background. It sounds very primitive, but it suits the song I hope.


Wish I was in London,
Or some other seaport town;
I'd set my foot in a steamboat,
I'd sail the ocean 'round.

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

Hair was black as a raven,
Her eyes was black as coal,
Her cheeks was like lilies
Out in the morning grown.

She rode to church a-Sunday,
She passed me on by;
I saw her mind was changing
By the roving of her eye.

Don't you remember, Molly,
When you gave me your right hand?
You said if you ever marry
That I'd be the man.

Now you've broke your promise,
Go home with who you please,
While my poor heart is aching
You're lying at your ease.