Last of the Gabriel’s [Pop] Vinyl: “My Little Old Shack in Minneapolis, MN” by Yogi Yorgesson

I saved the best, or at least the nearest to local, for last.

According to Wikipedia, Yogi Yorgesson was the stage name of “Harry Stewart (October 21, 1908 – May 20, 1956), born Harry Skarbo.” Stewart “was an entertainer, singer, comedian, and songwriter. He was best known for his portrayal of Yorgesson, a comically exaggerated Swedish American.”

I’m guessing Stewart was a kind of “Weird Al” of his time, recording novelty records. According to Wikipedia again …

From 1948 through 1956 Stewart recorded over forty songs as Yogi Yorgesson. Harry was also recognizable, as Yogi, in the Capitol Records promotional film, “Wanna Buy a Record,” which starred Mel Blanc. Not content to remain in his niche, he released a political single called “I’m Gonna Vote Republican.” The other side was “I’m Gonna Vote for a Democrat.” He also hit later that year, 1952, with a concept record called his Family Album. By this time, Yogi’s first Capitol single was still the tenth-best-selling overall by the company; only three singles that had come out after “I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas” had outsold it.[9] Beginning in 1953 he adopted other comic personas for some of his releases: Japanese (Harry Kari), country bumpkin (Claude Hopper) and German (Klaus Hammerschmidt).”


The song is a remake, in the Weird Al novelty vein, of another tune.


“My Little Grass Shack in Kealakekua, Hawaiʻi”, written by Tommy Harrison, Bill Cogswell, and Johnny Noble in Hawaii in 1933, was a hit song in the Hawaiian musical style known as hapa haole. One of the earliest recordings by Ted Fio Rito and His Orchestra reached number one on the charts in 1934.[1] Honolulu Magazine listed it as number 41 in a 2007 article, “50 Greatest Songs of Hawaii”.[2] It has been heard in many movies and television shows and has been covered dozens of times, the title is sometimes shortened to “My Little Grass Shack” or “Little Grass Shack”.

All the exoticism given Hawaii in the original, Stewart/Yorgesson gives Scandinavian Minnesota:  for example, Yorgesson sings, “When the mackerel and the pickerel and the lutefisk go swimming by.”

Stewart was, himself, Swedish, and I honestly don’t know whether that makes the broad caricatures any more tolerable.

Anyway. There were some classical discs among these tunes, and I might go poking through those next, if only because the idea of classical music on a singles format intrigues me. But this is the end of the ruminations on pop.

No Comments

Leave a Comment

Only registered members can post a comment , Login / Register Here

Read previous post:
The Slice: Dragon Boat Practice Blue Water Paddling hosts open dragon boating in Superior every Tuesday night. In this video, co-founder Megan Kress leads...