Set list for July 11, 2010

In our final of four Illinois shows for the weekend of July 9-11 (see the previous three posts for more), The Viper and His Famous Orchestra (minus Edward Burch, by this point on his way to St. Louis) played two sets on a Sunday afternoon at the Orpheum Children’s Science Museum in Champaign. (Facebook photos here.)

It’s a great space: the museum is housed in the two-story lobby of a beautiful vaudeville palace (currently undergoing restoration) that once was on the Orpheum circuit (later the O in RKO). Don Gerard tells us that he saw Jaws here during its first run in 1976. Now that’s talking about sharkin’.

Here’s what we played:


  • The Viper’s Blue Yodel no. 6.02 x 10 to the 23rd
  • Stopper in My Hand
  • Party in the U.S.A.
  • Sharkin’
  • My Seafaring Lassie


  • First Round Polka
  • Ich Bin Berlin (The Sundown Song)
  • Dance Any Way You Want To
  • Uncle Bud
  • Randolph St.

Surprisingly, Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the U.S.A.” seemed far less familiar to this pint-sized crowd than in had to the 30-to-40 somethings who listened to us do it on Friday night in Chicago (see video above). Go figure.

Between sets, we led a workshop upstairs on building instruments. The Viper & Riley Broach showed how to put a washtub bass together and play it. Kip Rainey demonstrated the wax paper & comb kazoo. Rob Henn manned the jugs. Victor Cortez and John Peacock showed how to build shakers, play the suitcase, and create drum mallets out of superballs — like bumbles, they bounce.

Then during the second set, my daughter, Irene, led a raffle at which a lucky boy named Lev went home with the kid-sized washtub bass we’d built in the workshop. He even played with us for a double-washtub-bass performance of “Uncle Bud.” Congratulations, Lev!

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