Sunday, 23 July 2017

Murder Ballad Monday--Molly Bond

Welcome to murder Ballad Monday. Last week I looked at the traditional ballad Polly Von. This week I want to explore a version of this song called Molly Bond hauntingly sung by the Oysterband. We discovered this band when we lived in England and I was thrilled to have a counterpart to Polly Von.
I cannot find the origin of this particular version except that it is “traditional.” It differs from the Peter, Paul and Mary version in that the man does go to trial and at that trial Molly’s ghost appears and exonerates him saying that it was not murder, but a case of mistaken identity and accidental death. It also explains something that always puzzled me about the Peter, Paul and Mary version—why was she “hiding” with her apron wrapped around her? This song says there was freak hailstorm and she was sheltering herself from the hail.  

About 20 odd years ago, we found a picture book of this version at Barnes and Noble and we were surprised to see her ghost appearing at the end. I have searched on and off over the years and have never found this book again. If you know of it, please let me know.

Here is the Oysterband singing this ballad. The music has an almost sinister quality to it that gives me the chills. I have included the lyrics below if you’d like to follow along.

Come all you young gallants that delight in a gun
Beware of your shooting at the setting of the sun

It happened one evening in a large shower of hail
When under a bower my love was concealed

He apron flew around her, I took her as a swan
And I shot my own darling at the setting of the sun

As I walked up to her and found it was she
My limbs they grew weary and my eyes couldn't see

The ring on her finger, most bitterly I cried
O Molly, if you were living, you'd've been my fond bride

Home to my father like lightning I did run
Saying Father, dearest father, do you know what I've done?

Her apron flew around her, I took her as a swan
And I shot my own darling at the setting of the sun

Her apron flew around her, I took her as a swan
And I shot my own darling, and where shall I run?

His father in the corner with his hair turning grey
O my dear Jimmy, don't you run away

Stay in this country until the trial comes on
You never shall be hung by the laws of this land

The day of the trial to the judge she appeared
As God is my witness young Jimmy must go clear

My apron flew around me, he took me as a swan
And I know his heart lies bleeding for his own Molly Bond

That’s all for Murder Ballad Monday. Stay tuned for another version of Molly Bond. 

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