Friday Five: Velvet

Ken Morton, Jr. | December 9th, 2011

Perhaps 19th century Santa Claus just had a jump start on the swinging 1970s. How else do you explain the groovy red velvet suit that he rocks on Christmas night? With that smooth finish covering his husky frame, is there any wonder Mrs. Claus can’t leave him alone?

Lots of artists have sung as smooth as velvet, but not nearly have many have sung songs utilizing the fabric as part of their song. This week, we’re celebrating the official duds of Christmas. We present to you: five songs about velvet.

 

5. Neko Case — “Stinging Velvet”

Case shows off her impressive voice on this track from Blacklisted as she sings, “Safe from all the horrors in your stinging velvet arms/And I surrender, surrender.”

 

4. Stoney LaRue – “Velvet”

LaRue sings, “Oh the rain came down and you covered me in velvet.” In other words, it rained Muppets.

 

3. Townes Van Zandt — “The Velvet Voices”

This song can be interpreted as the “Velvet Voices” either being a choir or angels. I prefer the latter, especially when considering that Van Zandt passed away on the same day as one of his biggest songwriting influences, Hank Williams, Sr.

 

2. Johnny Cash — “Red Velvet”

The Man in Black reminds us that you can’t keep a high-rent city girl like Red Velvet locked up on an edge-of-town farm. Well, not literally locked up. That would be kidnapping.

 

1. Hylo Brown — “Girl in the Blue Velvet Band”

Bill Monroe helped make this song so popular, releasing it as a single in 1949. The protagonist in the song has a stolen diamond planted on him by a girl in San Francisco and is sent to prison in San Quentin for ten years. My guess is that he steers clear from Match.com upon his release.

  1. Jon
    December 9, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Not that I don’t like me some Hylo, and not that I don’t think putting the song at the top of the list was the right call, but that is a really unrepresentative version of “Girl In The Blue Velvet Band,” which is almost always done in waltz time. You can hear Del McCoury’s version on his new Bill Monroe tribute album on the player here:

    http://www.delmccouryband.com/releases/old-memories-the-songs-of-bill-monroe/

    And if you really must favor Hylo’s cut time version, you might as well watch him, backed by the Foggy Mountain Boys, here:

    http://youtu.be/xL_C0G9SW5s

  2. Paul W Dennis
    December 10, 2011 at 12:26 am

    I’ve always associated “Girl In The Blue Velvet Band” with Hank Snow

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