The Black Velvet Band
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|"Black Velvet Band"|
|Single by The Dubliners|
|B-side||"Maloney Wants A Drink "|
|Released||30 August 1967|
|Genre||Folk, Irish, English, Pop|
|The Dubliners singles chronology|
"The Black Velvet Band" (Roud number 2146) is a traditional English and Irish folk song describing transportation to Australia, a common punishment in 19th century Britain and Ireland. The song tells the story of a tradesman who meets a young woman who has stolen an item and passed it on to him (the lyrics of the song vary from place to place). The man then appears in court the next day, charged with stealing the item and is sent to Van Diemen's Land (Tasmania) for doing so. This song was adapted in the United States to "The Girl In The Blue Velvet Band."
While working for the BBC, Peter Kennedy recorded a version in Belfast in 1952. In 1959, a version was found in Australia. The collector G.B. Gardiner noted a version in Hampshire in 1907. An earlier version by the publisher Swindells in Manchester is very wordy, and has no chorus. It places the events in Barking, Essex. Some of the earliest versions mention the Old Bailey and London Town.
- One day, being out on a ramble, alone by myself I did stray,
- I met with a young gay deceiver, while cruising in Ratcliffe Highway;
- Her eyes were as black as a raven, I thought her the pride of the land,
- Her hair, that did hang o'er her shoulders, was tied with a black velvet band.
The publication date of that version is probably between 1837 and 1853.
Following the Ireland rugby team's Grand Slam win in 2009, winger Tommy Bowe sang his own version of 'Black Velvet Band' to a triumphant crowd on the team's homecoming on Dawson Street, Dublin.
|UK Singles (Official Charts Company)||15|
- The Irish Rovers on their album The Unicorn in 1967. Single was released 1967 on the B side of The Unicorn.
- The Dubliners version reached number 15 on the UK Singles chart, number 4 in the Irish charts and number 28 in the European charts in 1967 .
- Ewan MacColl
- Carlton Showband on their Canadian RCA LP "A Night At The Pub" (1967).
- Harry Hibbs on his Canadian debut LP "At The Caribou Club" (1968).
- Dropkick Murphys on their album Blackout, this version differs slightly from the traditional.
- Four to the Bar on their live album Craic on the Road, in a medley with "The Galway Shawl" and "The Wild Rover".
- Bill Monroe (as "Girl In The Blue Velvet Band")
- Brobdingnagian Bards on their album The Holy Grail of Irish Drinking Songs.
- Bakerloo on the compilation Here's To The Irish, Vol. 2.
- The High Kings on their album The High Kings.
- Seamus Kennedy on his album By Popular Demand.
- The Blackwater Boys on the album Irish Drinking Songs Vol. 2.
- Ronnie Drew Former lead singer of The Dubliners on his solo album The Humour Is on Me Now
- Harry Cox on compilation album The Bonny Labouring Boy.
- Gareth Davies-Jones on his album "Water & Light".
- Celtic Thunder did a cover for their summer holiday shows in Atlantic City
- Allison Crowe released a recording of the song on her album Newfoundland Vinyl (2013)
- Johnny Kelly and The Capitol Showband recorded a version of the song, which reached No. 1 on the Irish Singles Chart in August 1967.
- The Wiggles did an adapted version of the story on their Sing a Song of Wiggles DVD starring Sam as Prince Michael and Dorothy the Dinosaur's voice-over, Carolyn Ferrie. Captain Feathersword played by Paul Paddick also did the narrations of the story.
- Marc Gunn recorded it on his albums Irish Drinking Songs and a bluesy version on The Bridge and again with Jamie Haeuser on their album How America Saved Irish Music (2014)
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