I used to hear Huckleberry Hound sing this song with his southern drawl and just loving it without actually knowing who Clementine was. I was able to listened to this song again with a different rendition and was stunned by the realization of its content. It’s a nursery rhyme so I was assuming that its lyrics would be shallow, fit for a kid. However after listening and learning the song I realized that it conveys a very sad story.
Clementine’s lover boar the ordeal of watching her drowned and can’t do anything because he can’t swim. It was as if he was crying while watching her trying to escape death but doing nothing because he don’t want to die either. That’s ridiculous and selfish in my opinion. He missed her hugs and kisses, so he comfort himself with Clementine’s little sister. I don’t like that part at all. Call me anything but I cried after hearing about her father’s sorrow. Her father was a miner and after learning about her daughter’s death, he fell into a deep sorrow that leads him to kill himself and join his daughter’s grave.
Anyway here’s a stunning rendition of the song by Sweptaway.