Zorch! Transfusion Time with Nervous Norvus and Red Blanchard (Righteous Records)

Red Blanchard was a popular West Coast radio DJ in the mid-’50s, known for his mix of hipster jive-talk, comedy sketches, and novelty song playlists. His show inspired singer Jimmy Drake to send Blanchard a bunch of songs written in the same tradition. Blanchard liked what he heard and collaborated with Drake (working as Nervous Norvus). Zorch! compiles 23 songs the pair recorded together and apart over the next few years. I can take the duo’s unique combination of jive lyrics, whacked-out sound-effects and hillbilly music for a few songs – “Transfusion” and “Ape Call” are both damn good – but the joke gets tired over twenty-three songs. The first half of the album works, but the back half – a messy conglomeration of songs the pair recorded solo and covers of “Transfusion” by The Four Jokers and Scatman Crothers – is pretty unlistenable.