I came across a Yahoo group yesterday that I thought might be of interest (Novelty Music), and this morning heard back from founder member Paul Moore. Paul has a one-man-band and plays the ‘Zob Stick’ which, upon further investigation, turns out the be one of many names for what we know as the Yobstick.
Whilst I have heard of others playing similar stick-based instruments every so often, I had never heard of the name. I suspect the name ‘Yobstick’ may just be due to a mispronunciation of ‘Zob Stick’, but the instrument has also been called the ‘Monkey Stick’, ‘Lagerphone’, ‘Freedom Boot’ and many other names from around the world. In fact it has a history going back to asian shamans, and possibly beyond, where it was used as a symbol of power. I’ve stuck some more details about this up on the Deserters site, along with links to some related sites.
For me the most interesting of these is The Groanbox Boys – a London band who I had already heard about in the last couple of days as they just happen to feature Michael Ward-Bergman. He plays some superb accordian (yes, perhaps it seems like a contradiction of terms, but it is really VERY good) on Judge Smith’s album, “The Full English“.