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17 August 2016

Post 429: 'VIPER MAD'


Trying out 'Viper Mad' at Foxton Locks.
My friends and I added Viper Mad (sometimes called Pleasure Mad) to the tunes we regularly play. I believe it was written by Sidney Bechet and Rousseau Simmons as long ago as 1924.

It is great fun to play and improvise upon, especially if taken at a pretty fast speed.

It has a 12-bar introduction, followed by a 32-bar chorus (16 + 16 pattern, rather than with a middle eight). Here's our version.
In my view, the A7ths followed by the D minor in the Chorus are what give the tune its special flavour.

The original words are politically incorrect and are usually changed when sung these days. But they are full of youthful exuberance (I'm twenty-one, I've just begun, I'm far from doneand I like that aspect. It's a happy song that is both fun and effective to play.

If you wish to listen to this tune on YouTube, it is easy enough to find it played by Sidney Bechet himself. But if you would like an easy-paced more recent version (by The California Feetwarmers - with Chloe Feoranzo no less on clarinet) CLICK HERE.