February 8, 2005

Nervous Norvus, "Transfusion."

I've listened to a lot of old novelty songs over the years, but I had never heard of Nervous Norvus until today. This morning, there was a fresh coat of icy snow on the street, and I was thinking back to my recent car crash, as I backed Silvio out of the driveway to go to work, and the satellite radio was tuned to the "Decades" channel where it's always the 1950s, and here was this crazy song "Transfusion," by Nervous Norvus. It's all about a drunk-driving car wreck, with much talk of getting a blood transfusion, with a bit of a beatnik twist to it (as in: "Hey, Daddy-o, Make that Type O"). Here's a sampling:
Tooling down the hightway doing 79
I'm a twin pipe papa and I'm feelin fine
Hey man dig that was that a red stop sign-
Transfusion transfusion
I'm just a solid mess of contusions
Never never never gonna speed again
Slip the blood to me Bud

Every verse ends with a line like that:
Shoot the juice to me Bruce...

Pass the crimson to me Jimson...

Pass the claret to me Barrett...

Pump the fluid in me Louie...

Put a gallon in me Alan...

Yikes! But maybe there should be a satellite channel that just constantly reminds you to drive carefully. I had been thinking the other day that there should be a channel with an authoritative voice saying things like, "Pay attention! A small child might dart out at any moment! You must always be aware! Remember the person in the next car might be talking on a cell phone..." But maybe there should just be a Careful Driver music channel playing things like "Transfusion" and "Dead Man's Curve" ("the last thing I remember, Doc, I started to swerve/and then I saw the Jag slide into the curve"), and "Tell Laura I Love Her" ("but as they pulled him from the twisted wreck"). (Email me with other play list suggestions.)

Sidenote: Ray Peterson, who had the hit single of "Tell Laura I Love Her" back in 1960, died recently.
UPDATE: I don't know why "Tell Laura I Love Her" didn't automatically make me write "Last Kiss." In "Laura," the guy dies and the girl prays for him in a chapel. In "Last Kiss," the girl dies and the guy determines to live a virtuous life to be reunited with her in Heaven. Note that in both songs, it's the guy with the soul that needs looking out for. The goodness of the girl is never in doubt. (Sorry the lyrics link for "Last Kiss" does not have the full set of words found in the original hit single. I'm thinking the Pearl Jam version of the song left out the part where the girl goes back to the car to get the ring. Maybe it's sadder when you're not distracted by thinking about how dumb it was to go back for the ring.) EMERGENCY ADDITION TO THE UPDATE: As a reader points out, I'm mixing up "Last Kiss" with "Teen Angel"! And so, "Teen Angel" will be added to the Drive Safe playlist.

ANOTHER UPDATE: This Bob Dylan song is stunningly good at striking caution into the mind of the driver.

YET MORE: Another reader offers Roy Acuff's "Wreck on the Highway":
There was whiskey and blood all together
Mixed with glass where they lay
Death played her hand in destruction
But I didn't hear nobody pray.

The singer is very disturbed by the lack of prayer at a terrible car wreck. I'm thinking the message here is not only to be careful not to have a car wreck, but to be careful to pray and keep your soul in proper condition for death, which may come suddenly, such as in this car wreck. I like these very simple, old cowboy songs. This reminds me to stop at the "Hank's Place" channel on the satellite radio some of the time.

AND MORE: A reader suggests "Hot Rod Lincoln," which I'm afraid encourages reckless driving (even though he gets stopped by the cops in the end). Also --"Look out! Look out! Look out! Look out!" -- "Leader of the Pack."

AND YET MORE: This song, "Beep Beep," is totally inappropriate for my Drive Safe playlist, but writing this post made me think about it. It was a very popular novelty song in 1958, when I was a kid. I especially liked it because it featured a Nash Rambler outpacing a Cadillac, and our family car was a Nash Rambler.

AND: Several emailers have mentioned Bruce Springsteen's "Wreck on the Highway," which is different from the Roy Acuff song, dispute the nearly identical title.

1 comment:

Bruce Dana said...

I am currently listening to Nervous Norvus' Transfusion from my original 45. I loved him as a kid and have bemoaned not buying "Ape Call" for the past 50 years. Cd's are just not the same. I was checking him out on the Internet this evening when I saw your posting. If you're interested in such songs, check out "Real Gone Daddy" by Jim Flaherty's Caravan on the JENN Record Label. It's from the same period. The flip side is another car related song, "This Old Bomb of Mine." The former has such wonderful lines as "Well I hope you can discern it's a hard way to learn that the middle never was the right side/Cause I'm a real stiff daddy in a long black caddy going for a one way ride." Email me if you're interested and maybe I can digitize the song and send it to you...