“My name is Yon Yonson,
I work in Wisconsin,
I work in the lumber mill there.
The people I meet as I walk down the street say:
‘Hey, what’s your name?’
I say …”
Hard to imagine these days, but there used to be music shows on TV. That’s right. Music shows. On proper telly. During daylight hours. Not just Jools doing some boogie-woogie piano over the new Adele single or a one-off documentary about punk tucked away on BBC4 at midnight. And certainly not the karaoke nonsense that’s annually inflicted on us by Simon Cowell Incorporated.
These shows had great names like Snub TV and The Tube and Rapido. And they had rubbish names like The Chart Show. But, whatever their names, the best thing about them was that they’d throw up an unexpected musical treasure just as you were eating a fish finger. It’s how I found ‘Yon Yonson’. Except it was a Saturday morning, so swap in Weetabix. And how great was that. You’ve just suffered through another 9-minute Madonna video exclusive on The Chart Show, when suddenly you’re ambushed by this marvel of repetitive insanity. Here’s a young guy I’ve never seen before (and will never see again) getting increasingly irate while spouting nursery rhyme lyrics and pushing a keyboard around on a wheelchair in some bleak urban conurbation. This is what Saturday morning telly should be like.
At the time, my knowledge of The Dave Howard Singers stretched no further than this song. And my knowledge of this song stretched no further than a line on the back of the sleeve that told me Yon Yonson was a fictional character originally inspired by the novel ‘Slaughterhouse Five’ by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. And that’s all I’ve wanted to know. I knew from that first time I heard it that the song’s mystery was its strength. Though I was very recently compelled to do a smidgen of research to learn if Wisconsin is actually known for its lumber mills. I’m pleased to report back that it is (thanks, Jonna).
It would be great to think that I’m going to sit down with a fish finger tonight and discover another song that’s as exciting or surprising. But it’s just not going to happen. Though some of that’s my fault as I haven’t got any fish fingers in the freezer.
As to be expected, this song doesn’t appear to have made it on to Spotify yet. But it seems more appropriate to show you the video anyway …