Washboard Jungle was a four-man group that combined elements of folk music, classic rock, comedy, dance, and performance art. The members included Bob Goldberg (keyboards, accordion, bulbul tarang, percussion, vocals), Henry Hample (banjo, fiddle, mandolin, ukulele, percussion, vocals), McPaul Smith (bass guitar, jug, percussion, vocals), and Stuart Cameron Vance (guitars, kazoo, percussion, vocals). They took their name from the movie Blackboard Jungle.
The group was founded in New York City in 1989 by Henry Hample, the son of noted humorist Stuart Hample. Often referred to as a "post-modern jug band," they used approximately 40 musical instruments and household utensils in their live shows, including washboards, spoons, bongos, pennywhistle, melodica, a potato masher, a carrot grater, a toy hammer, a vacuum cleaner, water glasses, and digital samplers. They reinterpreted traditional folk songs, and the songs of other artists ranging from Hoagy Carmichael to Pink Floyd, but also wrote original songs in a comic vein.
The group had a longstanding relationship with the New York experimental performance space Dixon Place, and performed at other New York theatrical and music venues, including regular appearances in the "No Shame" series at the Public Theater. They also toured to festivals, colleges, and other venues from Maine to North Carolina. They sometimes performed for children, and they continue to receive airplay on kids' radio programs. They officially disbanded in 1994 but have reunited several times since.
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