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 show’s mix of hipster jive-talk, comedy sketches and novelty song playlists. His show inspired singer Jimmy Drake send Blanchard a bunch of songs 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 separately, over the next few years. I like a good novelty song once in a while but 23 songs of daffy hipster jive isn’t my idea of a good time. 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 damn good – but the joke gets tired quickly. 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.