Friday, December 14, 2012

Yogi Yorgesson - I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas (1949)

Singer-comedian Yogi Yorgesson's real name was Harry Stewart (1908 – 1956). Yorgesson was simply a persona the latter used to release over forty songs for Capitol Records beginning in 1949.

Stewart was originally a radio announcer in the late 1920s in Tacoma, Washington where he invented an act featuring Yorgesson in the mid-30s. Stewart later took his shtick to night clubs where the Swedish character evolved over the years. Finally, in 1948, Stewart became a singer, recording two songs under the Yorgesson name. When the sides proved successful Capitol Records picked up his contract and the following year they released "I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas" with "Yingle Bells" as the B side. The novelty record became a big seasonal hit. Billed as Yogi Yorgesson with the Johnny Duffy Trio, the 78 RPM record sold over one million copies nationally and became a certified gold disc.

Eventually the song was forgotten until Dr. Demento regularly featured it on his syndicated radio show in the 1970s. Since then, it has achieved status as a real Christmas cult classic.

Almost everyone who hears Yorgesson's most famous song will tell you it's hysterical. His Swedish accent is obviously fake but good enough for listeners to get the joke. Both the song and the arrangement, with its cheesy organ lead, sound quite dated today but that is part of its charm. Lyrically, "Yust Go Nuts" is as current now as it was back in '49. The singer spins a yarn about how a blockheaded husband buys a carpet sweeper for his wife instead of a nightgown as a present because he doesn't know her size. The second half of the song tells the tale of relatives who really can't stand each other gathering together only once a year at Christmas and trying unsuccessfully to co-exist on the big day.

In addition to Yorgesson, Stewart included other fake ethnic characters in his repertoire, most notably Harry Kari of Japan and a German named Klaus Hammerschmidt.

Stewart's career ended in 1956 when he was killed in a car accident.

2 comments :

  1. I grew up with Yogi's records, not only "I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas" but "Someone Spiked the Punch at Lena's Wedding," "I Want to Go Back to My Little Old Shack (in Minneapolis, Minnesota)," "Real Gone Galoot," and a couple of others. My father was a fan, and he bought several Yogi singles during his early 50s heyday. How funny they are depends on how funny you find his Scandinavian schtick. Clearly, Yogi needs a comprehensive box set.

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  2. Bill Crider draws our attention today to a Cracked.com list including the album of two chumps who have recorded a cover of one of Stewart's albums...

    http://billcrider.blogspot.com/2012/12/the-5-most-unintentionally-creepy.html

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