CLEMENTINE

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs
  • CLEMENTINE
    “ Clementine” is an American western folk ballad usually credited to Percy Montrose
    (1884), though sometimes to Barker Bradford. The song is believed to have been based
    on another called Down by the River Liv’d a Maiden” by H. S. Thompson (1863). The
    words are those of a bereaved lover singing about his darling, the daughter of a 49er“, (a
    miner in the 1849 California Gold Rush). He loses her in a drowning accident – though
    he consoles himself towards the end of the song with Clementine’s “little sister”. The
    verse about the little sister was often left out of folk song books intended for children,
    presumably because it seemed morally questionable.
    In his book “South from Granada”, Gerald Brenan attributes the melody to originally
    being an old Spanish ballad, which was made popular by Mexican miners during the
    Gold Rush, and given various English texts. No particular source is cited to verify that
    the song he used to hear in the 1920s in a remote Spanish village was not an old text with
    new music, but Brenan states in his preface that all facts mentioned in the book have been
    checked reasonably well.
    The song was featured in the film My Darling Clementine” by John Ford and starring
    Henry Fonda, the 1963 Paul Newman film HUD, and in the television series M*A*S*H.
    Bobby Darin had a top ten success in the UK with this song. It was also the favorite song
    of Hanna-Barbara character Huckleberry Hound, who sang it in his cartoons. The song
    was one of two bases, the other being La Cucaracha, of a protest anthem sung by the
    animals of Animal Farm when they were fighting Mr. Jones.
    In a cavern
    In a canyon
    Excavating for a mine
    Dwelt a miner
    forty-niner
    And his daughter
    Clementine
    OH MY DARLING OH MY DARLING
    OH MY DARLING CLEMENTINE
    THOU ART LOST AND GONE FOREVER
    DREADFUL SORRY CLEMENTINE!!!
    Light she was and like a fairy
    And her shoes were number nine
    Herring boxes without topses
    Sandals were for Clementine
    How I missed her
     How I missed her
    How I missed my Clementine
    But I kissed her little sister
    And forget my Clementine!!!