Elvis's odd pronunciation of the word "Oyster"

In Elvis’s song King of the Whole Wide World, in the opening line, Elvis sings: “The poor man wants the oyster.” But he doesn’t say the word oyster the way most people say it and the way it is spelled. Instead, he pronounces it “Oster,” like my childhood friend Graham Oster (grandson of Hans Oster, one of the conspirators in the plot to kill Hitler.)

In other words, the letter “y” seems to be totally omitted in Elvis’s pronunciation of the word. I have never, ever heard anyone say the word like this.

What is the deal?

Fred Astaire did:

As did many in Brooklyn.

It’s Southern. Jesse Jackson (from South Carolina) uses the same sort of pronunciation in perhaps a more pronounced way - for lack of a better word.

It sounds a little to me like the way my family and I (and many of my friends both in Indiana and Texas) say “oil.” It almost comes out sounding more like the word “awl,” or like the word “poll” without the P on the front. I agree with Ellis… it’s a Southern/redneck thing.