Handsome Molly [demo]

Handsome Molly (Arranged & Adapted Harley)

I wish was in London
Or some other seaport town
I’d set foot on a steamboat
And I’d sail the ocean round

Sailing on the ocean
Or sailing on the sea
I’d think of handsome Molly
Wherever she may be

I went down to church last Sunday
And as she passed me by
I knew her mind was changing
By the roving of her eye

Do you remember Molly
When you gave me your right hand
You said if e’er you married
That I would be the man

But now you’ve gone and left me
Go on with whom you please
While I lie here in sorrow
Lamenting at your ease

I’ll go down to the river
When everyone’s asleep
And think on handsome Molly
And lay me down and weep

Her hair as dark as ravens
Her eyes were black as sloes
Her cheeks were like the lilies
That in the morning blow

And I wish was in London
Or some other seaport town
I’d set foot on a steamboat
And sail the ocean round

Sailing on the ocean
Or sailing on the sea
I’d think of Handsome Molly
Wherever she may be

I’ve recorded this previously, but this is a slightly different arrangement, as a demo for a collaborative project that I’m considering.

The lyric closely resembles ‘Loving Hannah’, a song that seems to have crossed the Atlantic and then come back to us, apparently due to Jean Ritchie and Peggy Seeger. In fact, I tend to miss out verse 6 because it’s so similar to the equivalent verse in ‘Loving Hannah’ that I tend to give the lady the wrong name…

I don’t remember where I got the tune or words from. The lyric is not dissimilar to Doc Watson’s, but his version is faster and more bluegrass-y, with a tune somewhat reminiscent of ‘Poor Ellen Smith’. I was roundly criticized a few months ago at an Americana session because it isn’t ‘the bluegrass version’ or even particularly old-timey. Get over it, guys. It’s my version, and I’ve no pretensions to being a bluegrass player. I know my limitations. (Which is why the sitar and banjo sounds are supplied via a Variax guitar, not a real sitar and banjo. I did play quite a lot of banjo at one time, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable playing one in public nowadays. In fact, one was thrust into my hands at a session last year and I couldn’t wait to give it back.)

I sometimes hear this sung with the second verse sung as a chorus.

David Harley

Advertisements

Author: David Harley

Computer Security Author/Editor; Independent Antimalware Researcher; CEO at Small Blue-Green World; Senior Research Fellow at ESET.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s