Oh My Darling, Clementine
Percy Montrose [1884], new lyrics by Jimmy Campbell [1941])

The Music Maids were a chorus group that accompanied Bing on his weekly radio broadcast, the Kraft Music Hall. They also accompanied him during several Decca recording sessions during the period 1939-42. On 14 June 1941 they joined Bing for a jazzy version of a 19th century western ballad Oh My Darling, Clementine. The song was fatal for Clementine, but lucrative for Bing. It rose to the heights of the Billboard charts, peaking at #20. The lyrics were rewritten for Bing by Jimmy Campbell (1903-1967) to include contemporary references to country singer Gene Autry and a novelty song from Sweden, the Hut-Sut song, about ill-fated love between a guy and his gal from the town of Rawlson who were punished for exchanging oohs and aahs along a river bank while they were supposed to be in school. Bing describes Clementine as light, like a fairy, with super-sized feet requiring boxes used to transport fish. Perhaps Clementine's stinking footwear explains her clumsiness and her lack of body fat explains her failure to float in the foaming brine. At least in Bing's version Clementine got a decent burial. As usual, Bing and the Music Maids are accompanied by John Scott Trotter's orchestra. -- Steven Lewis

In a canyon, in a cavern
Excavating for a mine
Dwelt a miner, a 49er
and his daughter, Clementine.

Oh my darlin'
Oh my darlin'
Oh my darlin', Clementine.
Thou art gone, but not forgotten
Oh my darlin', Clementine.

She was light, aught like a fairy
And her shoes were No. 9
Herring boxes without topses
Sandals were for Clementine

Oh my darlin'
Oh my darlin'
Oh my darlin', Clementine.
Do you hear me?
Are you listenin'?
Make me know it, Clementine.

Oh my darlin'
Oh my darlin'
Oh my darlin', Clementine.
Do I sound like Gene Autry?
Could he sue me, Clementine?

(Chorus -- Music Maids)
Drove her ducklings to the water
Every morning just at 9.
Hit her foot against a splinter
Fell into the foamin' brine.

Oh that darling, silly darling
Oh that very good Clementine
Hit her foot against a splinter
Are you kidding, Clementine!

(Bing)
Oh, ruby lips above the water
Blowin' bubbles soft and fine
But alas I was no swimmer
Hut-Sut Rawlson, Clementine.

Oh my darlin'
Oh my darlin'
Oh my darlin', Clementine.
Get your lipstick and be a hip chick
And make me know it, Clementine.

Oh my darlin'
Oh my darlin'
Oh my darlin', Clementine.
Plant you now
I'm gonna dig you later
Like a tater
Clementine.

Lyrics transcribed by Steven Lewis ||| Return to the Lyrics Index