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Jambalaya and a crawfish pie and fillet gumbo
’cause tonight I’m gonna see my ma cher amio.
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gayo,
Son of a gun, gonna have big fun on the bayou.

Typical… The one song written about me and it is served up with a big chunk of crawfish pie.. What the hell is crawfish pie anyway?  For that matter, what’s a crawfish.  I can  honestly say I’ve never seen it on any menu anywhere in Australia but it is an American song so I guess I’d find it on a menu there.  Okay, I’ll try it one day when I get over to the USA.

So, I have a confession to make.  Livonne is only my nickname.. My real name is Yvonne… Yvonne Louise to be precise.  My best friend Anne, gave me the name Livonne, nearly 20 years ago now.  I was going through a particularly hard time and was really quite depressed.  We went past a little supermarket in the outer suburbs of Melbourne, called Livonne’s 4 Square Supermarket… She looked at it, said, that sign’s a sign.. you have to live on, Livonne and it stuck.. To this day, even people I went to school with, who have known me all my life as Yvonne, have started calling me Livvy, short for Livonne.

So what is a name anyway… It’s just a label.. A thing our parents give us, then spend the next 50 years of our life confusing with our siblings names.  A label we must have to suit government regulations.  Sometimes these names suit us, sometimes they don’t.  And have you ever noticed that if you meet one person with horrible characteristics, in your mind, you label every other person with that name similarly.  Even when you try not to, you think every Nancy you meet, probably is the same mean girl who teased you about your hair.. Or every Tristan you meet is the same annoying little kid who lived down the road from you.

But back to the song.  As a kid, I always envied the girls who had lovely songs written about them.. As far as I knew, I didn’t have a song about me at all.  When Kincade had a hit with the song, Dreams are ten a penny , I desperately wanted to be called Jenny..She had heaps of songs written about her.  And who wouldn’t swoon to hear their love singing the Beatles classic, Michelle, to them.   The Sutherland Brothers even sang to my mother with Lying in the Arms of Mary.  Julie, Julia, Judy, Georgia, Anne, Carol and Jane.. they all have multiple songs about them  … sigh…..  How come all these women got songs about them and I didn’t.  The only one I didn’t want to be was Angie Baby.. coz she’s a little touched you know. (sorry to all the Angie’s out there but Helen Reddy sang it, not me)

I was in senior high school before someone enrolled with the name Yvonne.  I had always been the only Yvonne in any school I went to.  While I had always wanted a name like everyone else’s, I was suddenly quite affronted when this girl came into MY territory, using MY name.  Suddenly, I realised I loved being different and from that watershed moment  on, I started to celebrate my individuality.

It’s not like there weren’t famous Yvonnes in the world.  I mean, I’d grown up watching Yvonne De Carlo in The Munsters.. There was Yvonne Elliman, whose song, If I can’t have you, was part of my teen years and of course, Yvonne Kenny, the Australian opera singer.  The most important one of all, was my Aunty Yvonne, who I was named for.  Still, Yvonnes were rare on the ground.  There was of course,  also Evonne Goolagong Cawley, who suddenly made our name impossible to spell as everyone wanted to use the E version, not the Y version, so she was slightly on the outer circle.

These women did make the name more well known but still, it wasn’t a Jenny, Margaret, Anne, Sally, Kylie, Julie, Sharon, Donna or Barbara.  As a child, I wanted to be any of those names, not the hard to spell, seemingly hard to pronounce, French name Yvonne.  Oh and to top it off, they gave me the second name of Louise, so I was totally out of place in a family who’s names were nearly all Catholic saints names. For a kid who just wanted to fit in, I had two chances.. Buckley’s and none.

Still, in time, I learned to embrace the name and tried to pronounce it Yuvonne instead of the Australian pronunciation, Eeeevon.  Said properly, it is a beautiful name but no matter how many times I have tried to introduce myself to people with the French slant… I sound way too Aussie to manage it.  I probably could have handled all of this if someone had written a beautiful song about me.  hint hint… Surely such an exotic french name deserved a beautiful, melodramatic song? I can’t believe that somewhere in the world, a beautiful french woman didn’t inspire her besotted, poor, garret dwelling musician lover to feel compelled to pen an ode of undying love to her.  What is with that? What is wrong with the name Yvonne that it doesn’t seem to be a name of a muse?

One day, I was lamenting this, yet again, to my mother, when she pointed out that there was a song written about Yvonne.. I got so excited, till I realised it was the daggy (at the time) Jambalaya.  Jambalaya… are you kidding me? She had to be wrong.. Jambalaya??????? I listened to it to try to prove her wrong..  Okay, when I finally listened to it carefully, Yvonne is in it… and it’s spelled correctly.. but seriously? Jambalaya????

Goodbye, joe, me gotta go, me oh my oh.
Me gotta go, pole the pirogue down the bayou.
My yvonne, sweetest one, me oh my oh.
Son of a gun, gonna have big fun on the bayou.

Oh so romantic… and then followed up with those awe inspiring words…

Thibodeaux, fontaineaux, the place is buzzin’,
Kinfolk come to see yvonne by the dozen.
Dress in style, go hog wild, and be gayo.
Son of a gun, gonna have big fun on the bayou.

I can’t believe she actually pointed it out to me and thought I’d be happy!  I mean, she had songs like the beautiful Lying in the Arms of Mary… the rocking Proud Mary… the boppy Mary Mary by the Monkees.. how could she possibly think that a song about fish pie, going hog wild and poling the pirogue (whatever that is) is going to compare..

What a cruel twist of fate.. If I had to have a name that no one could spell or pronounce, was it too much to ask for a romantic song penned for the Yvonnes of the world?   But what do I get…  a foot stomping, yeehahhh song instead.  Worst of all, the song is so hard to understand with words that no one has ever been able to decipher meaning people don’t even recognise the name in it.  What is a thibodeaux,  or fontaineaux… and if I want to “go hog wild” I don’t want it reported, let alone sung about.  As for poling the pirogue.. well let’s not go there.

So, today, I’m putting the challenge out to all you songwriters.. Write a song about Yvonne. A beautiful song about a strong, independent woman who has lovers falling at her feet..  An emotive song which celebrates her amazing beauty and the sensual magnetism she exudes.. A sweet, heartbreaking song that celebrates her intelligence, courage and exotic mystery…. I have no idea who this fictional Yvonne is, but I can pretend it’s me.  Lost in music, I can be anything I want to be.  Besides, it’s my story, my blog and I can have what I want.. (she says stomping her feet)  So bring it on.  Let’s celebrate the name.   Let’s explore it’s beauty… and most importantly, fulfill my childhood dream of having a song with my name in it. One that has no mention of crawfish pie please… That’s all. 🙂

Happy Composing… Livvy (Yvonne) 🙂

Yvonne's Song