Dreadful Sorry, Clementine
February 8, 2015 4:00 PM   Subscribe

The Sweptaways, a Swedish group of "20 women singing choir pop songs," offer a unique take on the American folk song "Oh My Darling, Clementine."

The Sweptaways, formed in 2003, do colorful performances of cover songs, collaborations with other artists, and original music. Their myspace page has a great deal of music, and more videos can be found on their YouTube page, including a cover of Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights."
posted by banal retentive (29 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
Lovely singing, and understated, which is a fine way to come to love a song or genre. Extra points for the sartorial statements.
posted by datawrangler at 4:08 PM on February 8, 2015 [4 favorites]

The switch to the minor key is beautifully done. This is really neat, thanks for posting.
posted by clockzero at 4:10 PM on February 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

Neil Young & Crazy Horse
posted by Sys Rq at 4:14 PM on February 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

I've sung that song in several choirs, it's a great and commonly used choral song. But that's my new favourite version! Love it. What a great group.
posted by fshgrl at 4:33 PM on February 8, 2015

That Wuthering Heights video very successfully evokes the period of the original song.
posted by immlass at 4:47 PM on February 8, 2015

posted by jim in austin at 4:56 PM on February 8, 2015

What a lovely interpretation, although I particularly liked the nod to the dry humor of the song with the "bum bum bum" accompanying the lyrics about her lips blowing bubbles.
posted by barchan at 5:42 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

And let's not forget the John Ford movie...
posted by jim in austin at 5:55 PM on February 8, 2015

What I think of when I hear someone talk about this song.

What I think of.
posted by jedicus at 6:14 PM on February 8, 2015 [2 favorites]

That too.
posted by curious nu at 6:14 PM on February 8, 2015

For some reason I've never heard that last line and it makes me feel like the whole song is an elaborate joke.
posted by bleep at 6:25 PM on February 8, 2015

What I think of
posted by smcniven at 6:37 PM on February 8, 2015

The whole song is a joke, bleep, only very deadpan. It's about a woman whose feet are so big she has to wear boxes and trips on a splinter (and thus drowns, but only after blowing bubbles soft and fine); her lover then kisses her sister and forgets her. (Bobby Darin covered the song at some point, and ended it by asking if whalers had seen her, with the phrase "chunky Clementine" - it's hilarious.) Perhaps it was meant to be a parody of some other traditional ballad?
posted by barchan at 6:41 PM on February 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

Some of the traditional lyrics omitted from this version make the joke much more clear:

How I missed her! How I missed her!
How I missed my Clementine,
Till I kissed her little sister,
And forgot my Clementine.

Then the miner, forty-niner,
Soon began to peak and pine,
Thought he oughter join his daughter,
Now he's with his Clementine.

In the church yard in the canyon
Where the myrtle doth entwine
There grows roses and other posies
Fertilized by Clementine.

posted by banal retentive at 6:43 PM on February 8, 2015 [6 favorites]

What I think of.
posted by Shmuel510 at 6:44 PM on February 8, 2015 [3 favorites]

Bobby Darin version
posted by barchan at 6:50 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

Made my kids cry the one and only time I tried to sing it to them.

But this is very pretty. If they actually recorded it in that bar? salon? The acoustics are amazing.
posted by Buttons Bellbottom at 7:23 PM on February 8, 2015 [1 favorite]

What I think of (wait for it).
posted by Herodios at 8:25 PM on February 8, 2015

The post title completely exploded my understanding of this song.

I always thought it was "dreadful, sorry Clementine", and I wondered what was so dreadful and sorry about her. The song never seemed to say.

Now I realize the "dreadful" is a modifier on the "sorry", which is an apology/lament.

What a difference a comma makes!

posted by Mister Moofoo at 9:16 PM on February 8, 2015 [7 favorites]

That was lovely.
posted by Divine_Wino at 10:45 PM on February 8, 2015

Wonderful, wonderful rendition. Thank you, banal retentive, for posting. I love it when someone takes a song seemingly simple and straightforward, and wraps around it something so creative that it makes you listen to the song as if you had heard it for the first time. This is how I felt when listening, and watching, this. Great artists can do that. Let's celebrate when they do.
posted by vac2003 at 11:15 PM on February 8, 2015

Love the harmonies on this.
posted by bunderful at 4:56 AM on February 9, 2015

posted by shilimukh at 5:27 AM on February 9, 2015

For some strange reason, this song formed part of my learning English. I don't know if it's still done or if it is a pan-Scandinavian thing, but we had a weekly singing/English session where we'd sing songs in English. Oh My Darling Clementine, What Shall We Do With the Drunken Sailor, My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean, and Go Down Moses.

This is a lovely version, but it does remind me of being back at school.
posted by kariebookish at 5:56 AM on February 9, 2015 [3 favorites]

Oh I've just fallen in love! Thanks so much for posting this. They're fabulous. I loved Clementine, the sound and the look was gorgeous. But I was still a bit wary about clicking on the Wuthering Heights link because it's one of my favourite songs (I love to sing it but have to save it for the car because I don't have the range so I sound like a bag of cats.) But I loved it - really witty video but also sounds great, especially the harmonies in the chorus. I didn't think I'd ever hear a version that I liked as much as the original but turns out I'm wrong. brb I'm just off to book a flight to Sweden because I want all these women to be my new best friends.
posted by billiebee at 12:07 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

What I think of. I totally ship it.
posted by Solomon at 12:15 PM on February 9, 2015

I know, billiebee, I love them, too. I watched both videos about 80 times and now I want to be a Sweptaway. I have to go back in time and be born in Sweden and take voice lessons starting at age three--so I guess I'll see you in Sweden in a couple days, future BFF!
posted by Don Pepino at 2:09 PM on February 9, 2015 [1 favorite]

That is a beautiful rendition and I love the hats, hair, and flowers. I would drink in that bar.

Clementine is one of the songs of my childhood, along with many others from some big-ass book of traditional American folk songs my family had. (Hey, it was the 1970s, that's what people did. It was a bit traumatizing at the time but in retrospect I appreciate it.)
posted by Dip Flash at 5:05 AM on February 14, 2015

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