Monday, November 06, 2006

Noon Balloon To Rangoon

Born Jimmy Drake in Oakwood, California in 1912, Nervous Norvus' early years are lost to history. In 1955 he was working as a truck driver but recording as a member of the Four Jokers, the sound of the Four Jokers might not have been much to write home about, but the topside of their only 45 (on Diamond) was something quite special indeed.
"Transfusion" was a Jimmy Drake original and he knew he had written a song like no other, a hit even, so he ditched the Four Jokers, re-recorded the tune in his garage and sent the tape to Hollywood DJ Red Blanchard along with his new moniker: Nervous Norvus.
Blanchard arranged for a contract with Dot Records and soon "Transfusion" was chart-bound, reaching #8 on the Billboard pop charts in 1956. Nervous Norvus had arrived but "Transfusion" was his premier moment in the spotlight although he did have a follow-up hit when 'Ape Call' reached #24 also in 1956.
Nervous Norvus carried on, cutting tunes for small labels into the Sixties. Peculiar ditties like "Does a Chinese Chicken have a Pigtail" (Big Ben) and his best post - Dot disc, "Stone Age Woo". Eventually his name disappeared from record labels forever and in 1978 he dropped dead !. The best collection of his material is captured on the 2004 Norton Records compilation - (see below).

No comments: