"Oh! Susanna": The NarrativeThe song tells a story about a man going to New Orleans to see his beloved Susanna.Its full of longing and desire, wherein the narrator dreams of Susanna at night andtalks about "fall[ing] upon the ground" at first site of his love.By eliminating the violent racist verse, and singing it without the mock accent, its afairly tame love song that has worked its way into the hearts and history of Americanfolk music.
I come from Alabama With a banjo on my knee Im going to Louisiana, My true love for to see. It rained all night the day I left The weather it was dry The sun so hot, I froze to death Susannah, dont you cry. Oh, Susannah, Oh dont you cry for me For I come from Alabama With a banjo on my knee. I had a dream the other night When everything was still I dreamed I saw Susannah dear A-coming down the hill.The buckwheat cake was in her mouth The tear was in her eye Says I, “Im coming from the south, Susannah, dont you cry.” Oh, Susannah, Oh dont you cry for me For I come from Alabama With a banjo on my knee. I come from A-la-ba-ma With a ban-jo on my knee, Im going to Lou-i-siana, My true love for to see. Oh, Su-san-nah, oh, Dont you cry for me, For I come from A-la-ba-ma With a ban-jo on my knee.
MEANING OF THE SONG:The words are those of a bereaved lover singing about hisdarling, the daughter of a "49er", (a miner in the 1849California Gold Rush). He loses her in a drowning accident -though he consoles himself towards the end of the songwith Clementines "little sister".Oh My Darling, Clementine has become popular,especially with Scouts and other groups of young people,as a campfire and excursion song, and there are severaldifferent versions of the words. (There is even a Scottishversion, the Climbing Clementine, which begins "In acrevice, high on Nevis...") The lyrics most often sung arethose shown below.
Clementine 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 CHORUS Drove she ducklings to the water Every morning just at nine, Hit her foot against a splinter Fell into the foaming brine. CHORUS Ruby lips above the water, Blowing bubbles soft and fine, But alas, I was no swimmer, So I lost my Clementine. CHORUS Then the miner, forty-niner Soon began to peak and pine,Thought he oughter jine he daughter, Now hes with his Clementine. CHORUSIn my dreams she still doth haunt me, Robed in garments soaked in brine; Though in life I used to hug her, Now shes dead, I draw the line.