Song Lyric Sunday: The Irish Rovers, “Black Velvet Band”

Jim has yet another prompt from Paula: "Head, Hat, Hair, Scarf." My song for today is the traditional Irish (and Australian, English, Canadian, and American) folk tune, "Black Velvet Band." Thus saith Wikipedia

> "The Black Velvet Band" (Roud number 2146) is a traditional folk song collected from singers in Ireland, Australia, England, Canada and the United States describing how a young man is tricked and then sentenced to transportation to Australia, a common punishment in the British Empire during the 19th century. Versions were also published on broadsides.

Many years ago, my grandfather traveled to Australia, and one of the things he did was to search the record books for anyone named "Connelly" that had been sent to Tasmania (or, as it’s called in the song, "Van Dieman’s Land"). I think he found one that spelled his name the way we spell it in our family (thus omitting anyone named Connolly, Conley, Conoly etc.) who had been sent there for stealing a sheep. Was he a relative, however distant? Probably. Anyway, here’s the song…

Her eyes they shone like the diamonds
You’d think she was queen of the land
And her hair hung over her shoulders
Tied up with a black velvet band

In a neat little town they called Belfast
Apprentice to trade I was bound
And many an hour o’ sweet happiness
I spent in that neat little town
‘Til bad misfortune came o’er me
That caused me to stray from the land
Far away from me friends and relations
To follow the black velvet band

Her eyes they shone like the diamonds
You’d think she was queen of the land
And her hair hung over her shoulders
Tied up with a black velvet band

Well I went out strolling one evening
Not meaning to go very far
When I met with a ficklesome damsel
She was sellin’ her trade in the bar
When a watch she took from a customer
And slipped it right into my hand
Then the law came and put me in prison
Bad luck to her black velvet band

Her eyes they shone like the diamonds
You’d think she was queen of the land
And her hair hung over her shoulders
Tied up with a black velvet band

Next morning before judge and jury
For trial I had to appear
Then the judge he says me young fellow
The case against you is quite clear
And seven long years is your sentence
You’re goin’ to Van Dieman’s land
Far away from your friends and relations
To follow the black velvet band

Her eyes they shone like the diamonds
You’d think she was queen of the land
And her hair hung over her shoulders
Tied up with a black velvet band

So come all ye jolly young fellows
I’ll have yous take warnin’ by me
And when ever you’re out on the liquor, me lads
Beware of the pretty colleens
For they’ll fill you with whisky and porter
‘Til you are not able to stand
And the very next thing that you know, me lads
You’ve landed in Van Dieman’s land

Her eyes they shone like the diamonds
You’d think she was queen of the land
And her hair hung over her shoulders
Tied up with a black velvet band

Her eyes they shone like the diamonds
You’d think she was queen of the land
And her hair hung over her shoulders
Tied up with a black velvet band

Lyrics courtesy Genius.com

And that’s Song Lyric Sunday for May 15, 2022.

23 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday: The Irish Rovers, “Black Velvet Band”

  1. Love this kind of music. My daughter loves this Celtic group, I forget their name. They are at Bayfield, Apostle Islands this month. Gaelic Storm I think they are. We were going to try to go. Love it. Always loved Rovers. We have a lot of Irish in us. Irish/English mostly and then a chunk of German/French. I want to go to Ireland. It was a bucket list thing along with Alaska, maybe Tuscany. Still haven’t made it to Maine or Oregon in US. Or Alaska.

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    1. Could it be Celtic Thunder?

      I’m all Irish and British, including some background in Scotland and Wales. Mostly Irish, a little bit Northern Irish (my great-grandmother was born there), some from London (my great-grandfather was born there).

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    1. I probably am. My grandfather also found an Aborigine whose last name was Connelly, though I think one of my distant relatives married one. Still, they’re kin. Most of the Holtons I know of are Black..

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