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Banjo tablatures for Handsome Molly

The Stanley Brothers

Recomended level: Intermediate

Tags: #vocal song, #irish music, #medium-tempo, #celtic

Handsome Molly is a popular banjo and fiddle song common to virtually all old country musicians of the nineteenth century. In 1918, Molly appeared in the collection of Cecil Sharp and was recorded on Victor records by Grayson and Whitter in 1929, but was probably a pretty old tune even then. The track is a "Courting Ballad" that is believed to date back to popular Irish ballads, comparable to "Lovely Molly" and "Dark-eyed Molly." It also shares similar lyrics with "Farewell Bally Cash" and "Irish Woman." Fiddler G.B. Grayson and guitar player Henry Whitter recorded a pre-bluegrass version of relevance in 1927. "Train 45" was the A-side of this album, and "Handsome Molly" was the B-side. These tracks would become bluegrass classics. The Stanley Brothers learned his song and performed it live throughout the 1950s, more than likely because of the Grayson recording. Stanley Brothers album with Ralph Mayo and Curley Lambert in 1956. It is a "Live" performance in front of a single Mic as a result of an impromptu session in a house. The Country Gentlemen recorded the song in 1961, which was included on the album "Sing & Play Folk Songs and Bluegrass." Their arrangement is much more "Old-time" and can be heard on the album "Old Time Music at Clarence Ashley's" or on the compilation album "The Essential Doc Watson." Bob Dylan, Ian and Sylvia Tyson and even Mick Jagger covered the song as well.

  • Banjo Handsome Molly Scruggs Style

    Scruggs Style

    This is a fun tune! Great melody and lyrics. In this version of Handsome Molly try to really bring out those melody notes.

    Banjo Handsome Molly Scruggs Style
  • Banjo Handsome Molly Melodic Style

    Melodic Style

    A technical up-the-neck break to Handsome Molly that stays true to the melody while giving you some options for spicing up your playing.

    Banjo Handsome Molly Melodic Style
  • Banjo Handsome Molly Backup


    This backup version of Handsome Molly shows you how to play behind a vocalist in a way that doesn't get in the way of his/her singing.

    Banjo Handsome Molly Backup