Tag Archives: riley broach

Set list for May 7, 2010

The Viper and His Second String made the Viper’s Milwaukee debut this past weekend, playing on Friday, May 7 at the venerable Coffee House as part of a 4-band jug-band benefit for the Central City Church’s Food Pantry. The line-up also included the great Larry Penn and his Washboard Band (featuring Dave Fox), Peter Lee, and the Grumpystiltskyn Jug Band.

Here, filmed by Sue Peacock, is The Viper and His Second String performing “The Viper’s Blue Yodel no. 6.02 x 10 to the 23rd.”

The Viper plays jug, harmonica, and baritone ukulele. On the newly built washtub bass is Riley Broach, who also played ukulele and washtub drum for the show. And filling out the Second String on the suitcase and tambourine is the vastly overqualified John Peacock, who also at various points of the evening applied his one good arm to the banjo ukulele, washtub drum, and toy piano.

Friday, May 7, 2010
The Coffee House, Milwaukee, WI

  • The Viper’s Blue Yodel no. 6.02 x 10 to the 23rd (on YouTube)
  • Das Kapital
  • Maggie Mae
  • Hey! Rounders (on YouTube)
  • Uncle Bud (on YouTube)
  • Stopper in My Hand

“Stopper in My Hand” and “Uncle Bud” were new for this show, the latter a work-up of a tune collected by Zora Neale Hurston. “Maggie Mae” is a Liverpool skiffle standard I’d played with the Paint Branch Ramblers in Maryland, and the “Blue Yodel” is one I’ve been kicking around for a couple of years, though playing it with a band for the first time this show. “Das Kapital” and “Hey! Rounders” are old standbys from the Everything for Everyone era with The Viper and His Famous Orchestra.

July 10 and 12 set list

Rob, Riley, and Ryan practicing for this weekend's shows.
Rob, Riley, and Ryan practicing for this weekend's shows.

The Viper and His Famous Orchestra played two shows this past weekend in Chicago, our first shows with the full band since 2002, and our first shows to feature a significant amount of new material since 2000, when the Viper up and left for Ankara, Turkey.

Thanks to all who came, or told others to come, expressed an interest in coming, expressed regrets about their inability to come, expressed regrets about their ability to come, expressed no interest in coming, told others not to come, or walk-ran quickly away the moment we started playing. We had a great time playing and catching up with a lot of our favorite people this weekend. That includes each other: Ryan Jerving, Edward Burch, Victor Cortez, Rob Henn, Kenneth Rainey, Riley Broach, and Bill Whitmer (who leaves for Scotland on Tuesday).

Both shows were a welcome challenge and a lot of fun, not least for the wide-ranging and moving sets that Edward Burch played at each of them with various stellar collaborators (LeRoy Bach, Steve Frisbie, Kenneth Rainey, John Peacock, and Riley Broach).

We hope to see you August 7 and/or 9 in Champaign-Urbana at Mike ‘n’ Molly’s. Meanwhile, here’s what you would have heard this past weekend, and the keys in which you would have heard it:

Friday, July 10, Hotel SnS (house show)

  • Ich Bin Berlin – C
  • Hey! Rounders / Superbowl Shuffle – C
  • Das Kapital – A
  • Good Morning Irene – G
  • Whispering – C
  • Think about Your Troubles – Db
  • Drunk Bus – Am
  • They’re Knocking Down Our Home – E
  • Neapolitan – A/Bb
  • Ballad of the Henry 55 – F
  • My Seafaring Lassie – C
  • Pretty Is as Pretty Does – C
  • Benny Lava – Cm
  • Wanna Be Startin’ Something – B
  • Winnebago Bay – G
  • Last Call Waltz – F

July 12, Great Performers of Illinois 2009 festival, Millennium Park

SET #1

  • The Viper’s Blue Yodel no. 6.02 x 10 to the 23rd -G
  • I Left My Liver in Libertyville – Bb
  • There Is a Tavern in the Town – Eb
  • Das Kapital – A
  • Are You Now, or Have You Ever Been…Blue? – F
  • Fillmore & Buchanan March – C/G
  • Winnebago Bay – G
  • Good Morning Irene – G
  • Whispering – C
  • Think about Your Troubles – Db
  • Pitfall – F
  • Let’s Go Fishing – F
  • Heyse Latke Kalte Latke – D
  • Drunk Bus – Am

SET #2

  • First Round Polka – F/C
  • Randolph St. – D
  • Hey! Rounders / Superbowl Shuffle – C
  • Benny Lava – Cm
  • Next Time I Drink – E
  • Surplus Labor – E
  • Neapolitan – A/Bb
  • Ballad of the Henry 55 – F
  • My Seafaring Lassie – C
  • Ich Bin Berlin – C
  • Wanna Be Startin’ Something – B

Fillmore and Buchanan part deux

A while ago, after I’d written my Presidents day salute to two of our least remembered, least loved presidents, “The Fillmore & Buchanan March,” Riley Broach took the lead sheet I’d uploaded and scored the piece in Sibelius. (For the background on the piece and the primary documents in question, see my February 20, 2008 entry)

When I asked him if he meant in the style of the Finnish composer, he laughed uncomfortably and wrote:

While an arrangement in the style of our favorite Finn, Sibelius would be hilarious, I was only referring to the program which is entitled, in fact, Sibelius. But you probably know that and are being hilarious as always, though one never can be so sure with you.

Well, he can be sure, because here I sit right now, whistling Sibelius’s Fifth like I’m Morton Feldman or something.

Anyway, here is the arrangement of The Fillmore & Buchanan March in some style arranged using Sibelius.

It sounded great, and really funny. But I was stuck. Because the file exists in a format that this blog doesn’t seem to recognize, it wasn’t until I was living in this backyard cottage I call Ainola (though if I knew the difference, I’d probably call it Shainola) and figured out that I could record streaming sound using Audacity that I also realized I’d finally be able to share Riley’s gift to the world.

So here it is, in all its scored glory, “The  Fillmore and Buchanan March.”

For download:

The Revenge of Myndryll Leavesfall

Riley Broach, bassist for The Viper and His Famous Orchestra, and currently the Orchestra Director at Lake Zurich Middle School North in Illinois, passes along the following.

Just wanted to share the last two concerts of mine. I have a few recordings up on my orchestra website. The first is of the concert last night, December 17, featuring the Atomic Strings performing “Aloha ‘Oe” with me singing.

…and playing the ukulele. Listen especially in “Aloha ‘Oe” for the talking parts, where Riley pesters the audience with “You know this part” and (in apparent Yiddish) “Now you do it, ‘Aloha Oy!'” And on “Rhythm ‘N’ Blues,” we discover that clapping on the 2 and 4 doesn’t necessarily come naturally to the children of Lake Zurich.

The second is of the Halloween concert on October 30th with the Atomic Strings performing an original song, The Quentin Witch Project, with me singing again. It’s the beginning to an epic tale about five viking heroes getting lost on some river off of Lake Zurich.

It is, indeed, epic. Have your lunch and your coffee ready in front of you before you click play, because if you get up in the middle to do this stuff, you’ll miss quite a bit. I’m still not entirely clear on the plot, but Riley does offer helpful meta-commentary throughout. Photos are available here.