A Song for All Seasons

Front cover art for 'A Song for All Seasons' by The Viper and His Famous Orchestra (2000)Front cover art for Robert Maxwell’s “A Song for All Seasons”A recent request for a recording of “Das Kapital” from an intrepid ex-colleague of mine from grad school in Champaign-Urbana (thanks Becky) got me thinking about why I’ve made it so hard to find and order the CDs recorded by The Viper and His Famous Orchestra: Everything for Everyone and A Song for All Seasons. Every couple months or so I get a request, but right now you pretty much have to hire a private dick to figure out a) who I am and b) how to reach me.

So as a start on smoothing the flows of the aforementioned capital, I’ve updated the “About the Viper and His Famous Orchestra” page to give my contact information and pricing information on the two recordings. (Soon, I hope to make it even easier to get these without anyone having to deal with me personally at all!)

Those efforts jump-started some other long overdue efforts to give more bio and personnel information for the Orchestra, and to finally scan in some of the fantastic CD cover art that Edward Burch designed. Some of this you are seeing at the top of this entry.

Specifically, feast your eyes on the front cover art for A Song for all Seasons, the 5-song live EP of covers recorded at the Highdive and Mike & Molly’s in Champaign, Illinois, in April of 1999 and February of 2000. Burch, the Orchestra’s suitcase player, is third from left on the cover. His design lovingly recreates the cover art of the 1960s LP of the same title by harpist Robert Maxwell (Decca DL-74609), along with some other borrowed elements (e.g., the “360 Stereo” tag) typical of the era.

The individual photographs were taken by our friend Rachel Leibowitz in a basement classroom of the Music Building at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Despite appearances, they were all taken in the same season, on a snow-covered winter day. Pictured, left to right, is bassist Riley Broach, Ryan Jerving (the Viper), Burch, and trombonist Rob Henn. Riley and Ed provided their own costumes, but I’ll have you know that the top half of Rob’s costume came from my wardrobe and is STILL basically the outfit I’ll wear the first day of class in Fall semesters.

3 thoughts on “A Song for All Seasons”

  1. Just for the record, I believe my *entire* outfit that day, not just the top half, was your clothes. They’re tan corduroy pants, not something I have. The notebook and shoes were mine, though, as were the classic good looks. Ahem.

  2. My gin-soaked memory is that both Rob and Riley were wearing my blazer and overcoat (respectively) and that Riley is wearing my scarf. But don’t forget: I am “The Boy of Summer.”

    I should also point out that Alex Moore provided significant help in the re-imagining of the Robert Maxwell cover.

  3. Let the record stand corrected. I’d thought Rob’s blazer was a tweed Italian job I’d had at the time. But looking at it now, it does appear that the jacket would be quite oversized on my 5’6″ frame.

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