Handsome Molly: Fiddle Lesson with Craig Judelman

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Here at Oldtime Central we are very excited to have the accomplished and versatile Craig Judelman teaching some oldtime fiddle tunes. In this first lesson, Craig teaches the classic “Handsome Molly” showing a basic version and then expanding on it with several variations to add to the possibilities. Craig is also very skilled at singing and fiddling, keeping alive this older practice. In the video, Craig gives some ideas about how to sing “Handsome Molly” while playing the fiddle. The version Craig teaches is very close to Doc Watson’s classic take on the song with Clarence Ashley on fiddle, which you can hear below.

The tune is in the key of G, played out of standard tuning (GDAE). It only has one part.

The chords are:

G / / /

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G / D /

D / / /

C / G /

Handsome Molly lyrics, as sung by Doc Watson:

Well, I wish I was in London, 
Or some other seaport town
I’d put my foot on a steamboat
I’d sail the ocean ’round.

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

Don’t you remember, Molly
You gave me your right hand?
You said whenever you’d marry
I would be the man.

But you broke your promise
Go with whom you please
My poor heart is aching
You are at your ease.

I went to church last Sunday
Molly came ridin’ by
I could tell her mind was changin’
By the rovin’ of her eye.

I go down to the river
Though everyone’s asleep
I think of handsome Molly
An’ I begin to weep.

So I wish I was in London, 
Or some other seaport town
I’d put my foot on a steamboat
I’d sail the ocean ’round.

In coming weeks, we’ll be publishing more fiddle lessons with Craig, as well as banjo and guitar lessons from other contributors to accompany them. Stay tuned!

Find out more about Craig Judelman – shows, lessons, recordings, etc. – at his website: www.craigjudelman.com

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