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Lyr Req: Handsome Molly

12 Nov 98 - 08:51 AM (#45090)
Subject: Handsome Molly
From: Dai

Can anybody help me with the lyrics to this tune - recorded by Martin Carthy (don't know where or when). Apparently Napoleonic period English.

TIA Dai


12 Nov 98 - 09:16 AM (#45091)
Subject: RE: Handsome Molly
From: Wolfgang Hell

Dai, if you enter [handsome Molly] into the upper right search window you get a version. don't know how close it is to Martin Carthy's.

Wolfgang


12 Nov 98 - 09:26 AM (#45092)
Subject: RE: Handsome Molly
From: The_one_and_only_Dai

Thanks Wolfgang, in fact these are completely different. Does anybody (a) know the recording I'm talking about or (b) have an inkling who collected this song originally?


12 Nov 98 - 10:02 AM (#45095)
Subject: RE: Handsome Molly
From: Wolfgang

Hi Dai, there's one complete or nearly complete discography of Martin Carthy ( here ). It doesn't know this song by Martin Carthy. However there's Molly Oxford by Martin Carthy, but you don't mean this? An index of recordings ( here ) lists more than a dozen of recordings of Handsome Molly, but none by Carthy. It's getting interesting.

Wolfgang


12 Nov 98 - 09:26 PM (#45176)
Subject: RE: Handsome Molly
From: Pete Peterson

I wish I was in London or some other seaport town Set my foot in a steamship and sail the ocean round While sailing round the ocean, while sailing round the sea I think of handsome Molly where-ever she may be

Don't you remember Molly you gave me your right hand Said if you ever married that I would be your man Sailing. . .

And now you've broke your promise, go marry whom you please While my poor heart is achin' you're lyin at your ease

... the earlist recording I know is the Grayson and Whittier recording and is passed from there into "bluegrass" repertoire. . . I first heard it from Peggy Seeger who recorded it at the Newport Folk Festival in 1960. Is this the one you wre interested in? Pete


13 Nov 98 - 12:18 AM (#45191)
Subject: RE: Handsome Molly
From: DonMeixner

Look for Handsome Molly on an album by Howie Bursen that was released by Folk-Legacy Records maybe 18 years ago.


13 Nov 98 - 03:04 AM (#45203)
Subject: RE: Handsome Molly
From: Wolfgang

Dai, I couldn't stop thinking about it and I've got another idea: On his Shearwater LP Martin Carthy sings Handsome Polly-O and that's completely different from Handsome Molly in the DT. Here's how it starts:

Oh, a regiment of soldiers came to (Mowillow?)
when the captain on parade
he fell in love with the lady's maid
and the name that she was called
was handsome Polly-O.

I did transcribe this a couple of years ago and it sounds fine to me but for two placenames and 2 or three other bits. Should I post my 95% correct version?

Wolfgang


13 Nov 98 - 10:52 AM (#45237)
Subject: RE: Handsome Molly
From: dick greenhaus

Wolfgang- What you quote sounds like Pretty Peggy (The Bonny Lass of Fyvie-O, Fernario etc.)


13 Nov 98 - 01:44 PM (#45249)
Subject: RE: Handsome Molly
From: Sean Ruprecht-Belt

Dai (et al),

Is it possible that the confusion here is that Martin Simpson has done a really swell version of Handsome Molly and you've gotten him confused Martin Carthy?

Both very good English folk guitarists named Martin, but quite different styles and repertoires.

...Sean


13 Nov 98 - 10:50 PM (#45311)
Subject: RE: Handsome Molly
From: Barry Finn

A very nice & a somewhat different version was done by Gerald Trimble, but I don't know what it would be on, very fine cittern player I might add too. Barry


14 Nov 98 - 02:53 AM (#45322)
Subject: Lyr Add: HANDSOME MOLLY
From: Alan of Australia

G'day,
Or even MICK JAGGER!!!:-

Handsome Molly

I wish I was in London
Or some other seaport town
I'll set myself on a steamship
And I'll sail the ocean round.

While sailing around the ocean
While sailing around the sea
I dream of handsome Molly
Wherever she might be.

Her hair's as black as raven
Her eyes as black as coal
Her teeth are like lilies
That in the morning glow.

Oh, don't you remember, Molly
You gave me your right hand
You said that if you married
Well I would be your man.

And now you've gone and left me
Go on with who you please
My poor heart is aching here
Lying at your ease.

And I go down to the river
When everyone's asleep
I dream of handsome Molly
And I sit right down and weep.

Repeat verses 1 & 2.

Cheers,
Alan


18 Nov 98 - 04:02 AM (#45911)
Subject: RE: Handsome Molly
From: the_one_and_only_Dai

Wolfgang!


18 Nov 98 - 04:03 AM (#45912)
Subject: RE: Handsome Molly
From: the_one_and_only_Dai

Wolfgang!

The 'regiment of soldiers' is most certainly the version I was looking for - I was in fact hoping for a clearer ID on the place names. I will examine the detail on the Carthy version and post what I find.


18 Nov 98 - 09:51 AM (#45934)
Subject: RE: Handsome Molly
From: Wolfgang

You're right Dick, they are related. Pretty Peggy of Derby-O is the closest what the DT has to Carthy's version, but the differences are much more than just a few words.

Wolfgang


19 Nov 98 - 03:54 AM (#46073)
Subject: RE: Handsome Molly
From: skw@

Wolfgang, I'd like to see your 95% correct version as I haven't got round to taking the words down. Maybe between us we can make it 100%. - Susanne


19 Nov 98 - 05:33 AM (#46081)
Subject: RE: Handsome Molly
From: Wolfgang

OK, Susanne, your English is better than mine, so it might be possible. Let's go for the 100% in a collaborative effort. Look here tomorrow afternoon (German time).

Wolfgang


20 Nov 98 - 08:34 AM (#46237)
Subject: RE: Handsome Molly
From: skw@

Don't rush me! I probably won't be back here till Monday morning (German time), copy your words, go home, compare them to the recording and bring them back on Tuesday (or so). So please don't get impatient. Nice weekend! - Susanne


20 Nov 98 - 09:09 AM (#46242)
Subject: RE: Handsome Molly
From: Wolfgang

I don't want to rush you, Susanne, I want to rush me, for if I don't post it today, I can't before next thursday. So here it is.

The song is related to but not very close to the Bonnie lass of Fyfe. The tunes are about as closely related as the lyrics, so if you listen closely it sounds familiar if you know the other song.

Handsome Polly-O

1. Oh a regiment of soldiers came to (Mowillow?)
when the captain on parade
he fell in love with the lady's maid
and the name that she was called was handsome Polly-O.

2. "Will you list in the army, handsome Polly-O,
are you going to horse to ride
and your rifle by your side
and a (cool?) band of music going afore ye-O?"

3. "Didn't I give you your answer long, long ago
that I ne'er intend to roam
into any foreign shore
nor to marry a poor soldier in the army-O?"

4. Now when she came in presence of the captain-O,
ah, she made him there to stand
with his captain gun in hand
and she loved him to scorn his soldiers-O.

5. The regiment got the rout into (Ivy-O?)
and the captain he fell sick
and he died all in a week
and it was all for the love of handsome Polly-O.
Ah, the captain he fell sick
and he died all in a week
and it was all for the love of handsome Polly-O.

6. The soldiers went to mourn for the captain-O
(for if Polly wouldn't do
they would get another view?)
for there were far better girls out in Ivy-O.

transcribed as I hear Martin Carthy singing it on the LP Shearwater.

Wolfgang


See also Pretty Peggy-O


22 Nov 98 - 12:58 AM (#46426)
Subject: RE: Handsome Molly
From: T.Welch

I've got a record with Handsome Molly on it. It's on a record Norman Blake made called "Blackberry Blossom"


26 Nov 98 - 03:08 AM (#46839)
Subject: RE: Handsome Molly
From: skw@

Wolfgang, here's what I can make of the words. I replaced your version with mine in the brackets, or put (same), or extra brackets. BTW, the track can also be found on the CD 'Folk Heritage', a sampler brought out by Music Collection International, cheaply available in Britain, at any rate, and soon followed by nos. 2 and 3. They're trying to be a kind of 'Electric Muse' without the history (hope Mr Dallas won't be offended ...). - Susanne

1. Oh a regiment of soldiers came to (Mow Hill-O?)
when the captain on parade
he fell in love with the lady's maid
and the name that she was called was handsome Polly-O.

2. "Will you list in the army, handsome Polly-O,
are you going to horse to ride (Oh you'll get a horse to ride?)
and your rifle by your side
and a (whole?) band of music going afore ye-O?"

3. "Didn't I give you your answer long, long ago
that I ne'er intend to roam
into any foreign shore
nor to marry a poor soldier in the army-O?"

4. Now when she came in presence of the captain-O,
ah, she made him there to stand
with his captain gun in han
and she loved him to scorn (unto?) his soldiers-O.

5. The regiment got the rout into (Ivy-O?) (same
and the captain he fell sick
and he died all in a wee
and it was all for the love of handsome Polly-O
Ah, the captain he fell sick
and he died all in a wee
and it was all for the love of handsome Polly-O.

6. The soldiers went to mourn for the captain-
(for if Polly wouldn't d
they would get another view?) (same
for there were far better girls out in Ivy-O.


27 Jan 99 - 04:17 AM (#55880)
Subject: RE: Handsome Molly
From: The_one_and_only_Dai

One little coda to this thread. The great (?) Matt Armour (get your CD, only a tenner) has informed me from his position of superlative experience, knowledge and Scottishness that the song performed by Mr. Carthy on Shearwater was collected by him from Peggy Seeger.

Ms. Seeger apparently took 'Bonny Lass of Fyvie' and gave it the treatment.

Any observations or comments?


21 Mar 01 - 10:43 AM (#422382)
Subject: Handsome Molly
From: Whistle Stop

Can anyone help out with this one? I went to the DT to look it up, but the one on there is a "variant". The version I'm familiar with was recorded by the great Norman Blake on the first New Rising Fawn String Ensemble record from around 1980 (great record, I think out of print but probably some of the stuff has been reissued on other compilations). I know lots of other folks have done this as well. I no longer have the record, and can only recall about half the words. Thanks.


21 Mar 01 - 11:00 AM (#422395)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Handsome Molly
From: IanC

Sorry

The one in DT (not Hannah) looks like Frank Profitt's version, which is the only one I know.

Cheers!
Ian


21 Mar 01 - 11:14 AM (#422414)
Subject: Lyr Add: HANDSOME MOLLY (from Hart Valley Drifters
From: Sorcha

These are slightly different, are they the right ones?

Here are the lyrics of the version played by the Hart Valley Drifters;

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.

from: http://www.deadlists.com/SONGS/HANDSOP1.HTM
which seems to be a Greatful Dead site, but it says the Dead didn't record it. It does say somewhere on the page that it was recorded by Norman.


21 Mar 01 - 12:48 PM (#422503)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Handsome Molly
From: Whistle Stop

Thanks Ian and Sorcha. Ian, I didn't understand your post, so I took another look at the DT, and discovered there was a second page there that I hadn't seen the first time. It had the same lyrics, pretty much, as Sorcha posted above. Norman omitted the verse about Molly breaking her promise, and played around with the wording a little -- but that's folk music, anyway. I'll look more closely next time -- thanks again.


21 Mar 01 - 05:46 PM (#422720)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Handsome Molly
From: GUEST,Esmond

Nic Jones does an excellent version called Courting Is A Pleasure on his album Penguin Eggs. The website is at www.sarcon.demon.co.uk/engfolk/21/nicjones


21 Mar 01 - 10:53 PM (#422884)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Handsome Molly
From: Bugsy

Martin Simpson does a great version.

Adds a line in the first verse after:

(I wish I was in London)

"Or Some other seaport town"

Cheers

Bugsy


22 Mar 01 - 08:09 AM (#423054)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Handsome Molly
From: Whistle Stop

Yeah Bugsy, that's the way Norman Blake sang it too. I think Sorcha just omitted a line accidentally (he included it in the reprise of the first verse). Martin Simpson is one of my favorites, but I don't have his version of Handsome Molly; thanks for the info.


22 Mar 01 - 08:46 AM (#423074)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Handsome Molly
From: GUEST,Fretless

Tom Paley recorded HM, too, playing fretless banjo. I think it was on the Electra "Folk Banjo Styles" album. Tuning was gCGCE as my fading memory recalls, although it could have been gCGCD.


07 Jan 07 - 11:58 AM (#1929212)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Handsome Molly
From: Guy Wolff

Doc Watson also did this on the record he did with Clarence Ashley and the boys put out by the Smithsonian/folkways thanks to Raulph Rindzler .


07 Jan 07 - 12:31 PM (#1929251)
Subject: Lyr Add: HANDSOME MOLLY (C Ashley, D Watson)
From: Richie

Her are the lyrics by Ashley and Watson:

HANDSOME MOLLY- Clarence Ashley; Doc Watson

I wish I was in London,
Or some other depot town
I'd 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.

Remember handsome Molly,
When you gave me your right hand?
And you said that if you ever married,
That I'd be the man.
Now you've broke your promise,
Go marry whom you please,
My poor heart is breaking,
You're going at your ease.

She goes to church on Sunday,
She passes me on by,
I can tell her mind is changing,
By the roving of her eye.
Her hair is like a raven,
Her eyes as black as coal.
Her cheeks look like the lillies
Out in the morning grown.


08 Jan 07 - 01:05 PM (#1930368)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Handsome Molly
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson

Every "Handsome Molly" that I know of can be traced back to the Grayson and Whitter recording for Victor, Vi 21189, made back in 1927. Doc Watson clearly learned it from that recording, as did Peggy Seeger, who added two verses I've never heard elsewhere:

Now Molly's fair and handsome
Her hands are neat and small
They say she is good-natured
And that's the best of all

I'll go down to the river
When everyone's asleep
Think of handsome Molly
And then sit down and weep

The Stanley Bros. recorded it in 1961, thus getting it into the bluegrass repertoire.


09 Jan 07 - 03:48 AM (#1931152)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Handsome Molly
From: IanC

Maybe, Pete

If you search in older threads, though, you'll find that the song is older than that. It goes under various titles ... Loving Hannah, Lovely Molly etc. and is a variant of "Courting is a Pleasure".

:-)


09 Jan 07 - 02:28 PM (#1931623)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Handsome Molly
From: GUEST,Pete Peterson

Hello, Ian,

You're right of course; the song is older than Grayson and Whitter. After reading the DT threads and looking it up in Folksongs of North America (and not having access to Lomax's references) it would seem to be a variant of Loving Hannah, and Loving Hannah dates back a Good Long Time.

   What I stand by is my assertion that every version of "Handsome Molly" was learned, at bottom, from the G&W recording. Until somebody can find a counterexample, I'll continue to believe this.

    Interstingly, Lomax's Loving Hannah is "from the singing of Jean Ritchie." I'd love to learn from kytrad whether her family considered Loving Hannah and Handsome Molly as the same song or two separate songs.


10 Jan 07 - 11:18 AM (#1932373)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Handsome Molly
From: Jerry Rasmussen

I thought the line was "Some other seaport town." That's the way I've always sung it. I learned it from the Grayson & Whitter recording. Have to go back and lisen to it as I was just playing it on banjo, yesterday.

Jerry


10 Jan 07 - 03:44 PM (#1932614)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Handsome Molly
From: GUEST

Sang it at a party the other night. These songs live on.


10 Jan 07 - 05:14 PM (#1932688)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Handsome Molly
From: Stewie

Apart from the 2 Grayson & Whitter recordings in 1927, the other 4 entries in Meade under 'Handsome Molly' have the title 'Hannah, My Love'. However, these are all by the Canova Family (Three Georgia Crackers) in 1930. The earliest printed reference given by Meade is: Michael C. Dean 'Flying Cloud & One Hundred and Fifty Other Old Time Songs & Ballads' Virginia, Minn: The Quickprint, 1922, pp 111-2.

--Stewie.


03 Oct 11 - 08:13 PM (#3233390)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Handsome Molly
From: Richie

Hi,

I just put the 1947 article "The Old Album of William A. Larkin" by Ruth Ann Musick: http://bluegrassmessengers.com.temp.realssl.com/the-old-album-of-william-a-larkin.aspx

In the article there are some early texts from 1866- one is of Handsome Molly:

On one monday morning No. 22nd
William Larkin 1866 (original spelling by Larkin)

1. It was on one monday morning
That I arose
I went to see my true love
It was my hearts intent

2. My true love she is good looking
She is verry slim and tall
Besides she is good natured
And thats the best of all

3. I went to church last sunday
I rode up by her side
I new that her mind was changed
By the movements of her eye

4. I new that her mind was changed
To some neater man than I
I new that her mind was changed
And disgracefully to me

5. Oh lizzy dont you remember
You gave me your right hand
And you vowed if ever you marryed
That I should be the man

6. But now your are at your liberty
To wed with who you please
While my poor heart is a breaking
You are lolling at your ease

7. I wish I were in bablon
Or some other town said he
I would place my foot on board a ship
Soail over the briny sea

Larkin's spelling isn't the best but there are some early versions of many songs and ballads.

Richie


04 Oct 11 - 02:51 AM (#3233466)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Handsome Molly
From: Spleen Cringe

Rapunzel and Sedayne sing Handsome Molly


05 Oct 11 - 02:35 AM (#3234125)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Handsome Molly
From: GUEST,Tunesmith

The first time that I heard this song was on UK TV around 1960.
It was a show featuring Josh White, and Josh's son Josh White Jr sang the song.
I rembember being disappointed with Josh who didn't sound "authentic" to my ears, but I loved Josh Jr's singing.
Do any other Brits have a memory of that show?


05 Oct 11 - 12:09 PM (#3234298)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Handsome Molly
From: GUEST,leeneia

Thanks for the link, Spleen Cringe.

Now I know what to watch out for when the folk police are on patrol.


13 Apr 20 - 02:11 PM (#4045871)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Handsome Molly
From: GUEST

I realize I'm an awfully long time behind on this question, and I'm only guessing, but as far as the place names in 'Handsome Polly-O' are concerned, I wonder whether they might refer to Mohill (in County Leitrim) and Iveagh (a name given to some territorial divisions in County Down?


13 Apr 20 - 05:00 PM (#4045898)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Handsome Molly
From: Steve Gardham

Joe/Susan
This is an awfully confused thread. At least 2 separate songs keep crossing over, Bonny lass of Fyvie (Pretty Peggy of Derby, Roud 545) and Loving Hannah (Meeting is a Pleasure, Roud 454).


14 Apr 20 - 09:18 PM (#4046157)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Handsome Molly
From: GUEST,Guest

Better not mention Charming Mollie as rendered by Barrie & Ingrid Temple then!?


15 Apr 20 - 04:24 AM (#4046184)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Handsome Molly
From: Steve Gardham

This happens on not a few threads. I would suggest that some mechanism be found that moves any deviation like this to a new thread or another appropriate thread. I happily use the wonderful information on Mudcat for research as do others but confused threads like this one can be a nightmare.