"The Black Velvet Band" (Roud number 2146) is a traditional folk song collected from singers in Australia, England, Canada, Ireland and the United States describing how a young man is tricked and then sentenced to transportation to Van Diemen's Land (Australia).
It was published as a broadside ballad by Swindells of Manchester some time between 1796 and 1853
An additional note says: Tune: "Tars Of The Blanch"
In this version the young man visited the little town of Barking and the girl with the black velvet band deceived him on Ratcliffe Highway, after which a judge sentenced him to a free passage to Van Diemen's Land.
Ratcliffe Highway is the old name for a road in the East End of London, now called The Highway, then one of three main roads leaving London. It was in a dangerous and run-down area of seedy businesses, dark alleys and dilapidated tenements.
An American song called "The Girl In The Blue Velvet Band", credited to Cliff Carlisle, has a similar plot and is loosely based on "Black Velvet Band". Here the young man is tricked by a beautiful girl with a Blue Velvet Band and then sent to San Quentin prison.
It was recorded by Bill Monroe, Doc Watson and Mac Wiseman among others, but Carlisle himself recorded it first in 1934.
(c) Cliff Carlisle (1934) (as "The Girl in the Blue Velvet Band")
Cliff Carlisle: Vocals, yodeling and steel guitar
Recorded August 28, 1934 in New York
Released on Perfect 5-12-61
Cliff Carlisle - Georgia Moon / The Girl In The Blue Velvet Band (Shellac) at Discogs
On the label we see that William Ronald "Bill" Calaway, who was an A&R man for Bill Carlisle, gets a writing credit.
(c) Tex Fletcher & Joe Rogers (1937) (as "The Girl in the Blue Velvet Band")
Recorded June 2, 1937
Released on Decca 5403
Listen here: The Girl In The Blue Velvet Band
Hank Snow adapted the lyrics a bit and the song became a complete tearjerker.
GIRL IN THE BLUE VELVET BAND - Lyrics - International Lyrics Playground
(c) Hank Snow (1937) (as "The Blue Velvet Band")
Recorded November 8, 1937
Released on Bluebird B-4635
(c) Bill Carlisle (1947)
Recorded October 1946 in Cincinnati OH
Released on King # 638
78 RPM - Bill Carlisle - The Girl In The Blue Velvet Band / Shine Your Light To Others - King - USA - 638
Here the sole writing credit goes to Cliff Carlisle (Bill's brother)
(c) Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys (1949)
Recorded October 22, 1949 in Nashville TN
Released on the B-side of Columbia # 20648
Bluegrass Discography: Viewing full record for Blue grass stomp / Girl in the blue velvet band
78 RPM - Bill Monroe And His Blue Grass Boys - Blue Grass Stomp / The Girl In The Blue Velvet Band - Columbia - USA - 20648
Listen here: Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys.mp3
(c) Mac Wiseman (1959) (as "The Girl in the Blue Velvet Band")
Mac Wiseman - Great Folk Ballads (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs
Listen here: https://youtu.be/399WMWZe6oo?t=440
Starting in the 1940's the first recordings of "The Black Velvet Band", which was most likely the ORIGINAL source for "The Girl in the Blue Velvet Band", were released.
On May 10, 1942, Helen Hartness Flanders recorded Fred Brackett performing the song in Stacyville, Maine, USA
On July 24, 1952, Peter Kennedy and Sean O'Boyle recorded Paddy Doran performing the song in Belfast.
Northern Ireland 1952 – Page 22 – Peter Kennedy Archive
It was released on a Folktrax cassette # FTX 168
FTX-168 - PUCK FAIR - IRISH TINKER SINGERS -3-
folktrax-archive.org/menus/search for titles_bla_bli.htm
On July 28, 1953, Peter Kennedy recorded Mick McAlinden performing the song in the Cloughmore Hotel in Rostrevor.
Northern Ireland 1953 – Peter Kennedy Archive
(c) Harry Cox (1955) (as "The Black Velvet Band")
Recorded in 1955 by Ewan MaColl
(c) Ewan MacColl (1957) (as "Black Velvet Band")
Ewan macColl: vocals, with Peggy Seeger: guitar
Released on the album "Bad Lads and Hard Cases" (Riverside label RLP 12-632
Bad Lads and Hard Cases: Ewan MacColl at theBalladeers
Ewan MacColl - Bad Lads And Hard Cases
Also released on the Australian Wattle-label
Australian Folk Songs: Wattle Records and Films
45cat - Ewan MacColl And A. L. Lloyd - Convicts And Currency Lads - Wattle Recordings - Australia
A.L. Lloyd: Wattle Recordings of Australian Songs
(c) The Bushwhackers (1957) (as "Black Velvet Band")
Released on Wattle A11
78 RPM - The Bushwhackers - Black Velvet Band / The Hut That's Upside Down - Wattle Recordings - Australia - A-11
45cat - The Bushwhackers - Australian Bush Songs - Wattle Recordings - Australia
The Bush Music Club: The Bushwhackers - Australian Bush Songs, Wattle Recordings, 1957
(c) The Wolfe Tones (1966) (as "The Black Ribbon Band")
The Wolfe Tones - Up The Rebels! (Vinyl, LP) at Discogs
mudcat.org: Lyr Add: The Black Ribbon Band
(c) John Kelly (1967) (as "Black Velvet Band") (No. 1 in the Irish Charts)
45cat - Johnny Kelly - Black Velvet Band / The Nightingale - Pye - Ireland - 7N 17322
Johnny Kelly (2) - Black Velvet Band at Discogs
(c) Dubliners (1967) (as "Black Velvet Band") (No. 15 in the UK Charts)
45cat - The Dubliners - Black Velvet Band / Maloney Wants A Drink - Major Minor - UK - MM 530
(c) The Irish Rovers (1968) (as "Black Velvet Band")
Recorded July 31, 1967 in LA
Released on the B-side of their Top 10 US hit "The Unicorn"
Vinyl Album - The Irish Rovers - The Unicorn - Decca - USA
The Unicorn - Wikipedia
45cat - The Irish Rovers - The Unicorn / Black Velvet Band - Decca - USA - 32254
(c) RUM (1972) (as "De Vuurrooien Band")
Rum (2) - Rum (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs
More versions here:
The Originals © by Arnold Rypens - BLACK VELVET BAND, THE
Cover versions of The Girl in the Blue Velvet Band by Cliff Carlisle | SecondHandSongs