Washboard Jungle

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Washboard Jungle is a four-man group that combines elements of folk music, classic rock, comedy, dance, and performance art.[1] The members include 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.[2]

The group was founded in New York City in 1989 by Henry Hample,[3] the son of noted humorist Stuart Hample.[4][5] Often referred to as a "post-modern jug band,"[6][7] they've used up to 40 musical instruments and household utensils in their live shows,[8] including washboards, spoons, bongos, pennywhistle, melodica, a potato masher, a carrot grater, a toy hammer, a vacuum cleaner, water glasses, and digital samplers.[9][10][11][12] They reinterpret traditional folk songs, and the songs of other artists ranging from Hoagy Carmichael to Pink Floyd, but also write original songs in a comic vein.[1]

The group has a longstanding relationship with the New York experimental performance space Dixon Place,[13][14][15][16] and has performed at other New York theatrical and music venues,[17] including regular appearances in the "No Shame" series at the Public Theater.[18][19] They have also toured to festivals, colleges, and other venues from Maine to North Carolina. They sometimes perform for children,[8][20][21][22] and they continue to receive airplay on kids' radio programs.[23][24] They officially disbanded in 1994 but have reunited several times since.[25]

A poster advertising the band is visible briefly during a scene in the 1993 film Manhattan Murder Mystery, behind Woody Allen's character.


  • The Wash Cycle, 1994
  • The Brown Album, 2000
  • Sunnyland, 2016


  1. ^ a b Jan Stuart, review of Washboard Jungle in "Bad Clean Fun" at HERE Arts Center, New York Newsday, Feb. 21, 1994
  2. ^ Tim Coffey, "The Boys in the Jug Band," Washington Blade, Nov. 8, 1991
  3. ^ Joshua Lowe, "Washboards at DC Arts Center," Baltimore Alternative, November 1991
  4. ^ Dale Anderson, "Dreams Grow Up," Buffalo News, Oct. 19, 1990
  5. ^ Bruce Weber (2010-09-24). "Stuart E. Hample, Humorist and Cartoonist, Dies at 84". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-04.
  6. ^ Wayne Robins, "Extremes From Punk to 'Purple,'" New York Newsday, Feb. 1, 1991
  7. ^ Paul E. Comeau, "The Wash Cycle" CD review, Dirty Linen, December 1994/January 1995
  8. ^ a b Erin St. John Kelly (1994-02-06). "Playing in the Neighborhood". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-04.
  9. ^ Chuck Cuminale, "Gabba Gabba," Rochester City Newspaper, March 14, 1991
  10. ^ Eve Zibart, "It's a Jungle Out There," Washington Post, June 26, 1992
  11. ^ Blake Green, "Heads Up: Washboard Jungle," New York Newsday, Feb. 15, 1994
  12. ^ "Surfacing," New York Times, March 6, 1994
  13. ^ Wif Stenger, "Cement Mixer," New York Press, Sept. 15, 1989
  14. ^ John Hammond, review of "Bad Neighbors: The Soap Opera" at Dixon Place, New York Native, Oct. 29, 1990
  15. ^ Robert Makin, "Washboard Jungle," East Coast Rocker, March 6, 1991
  16. ^ Jennifer Dunning (1993-12-03). "Critics' Choices; Dance: On a Shoestring". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-04.
  17. ^ "Last Chance: Best of All Washable Worlds". New York Times. 1992-10-02. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
  18. ^ "'Chowder' Time," New York Daily News, Nov. 30, 1992
  19. ^ Susan Shapiro, "Tryout Puts the Rest to 'Shame,'" New York Post, Dec. 10, 1992
  20. ^ "Stuff for Kids," New York Daily News, Feb. 20, 1993
  21. ^ Lowell, Jessica (19 May 1994). "Andy's Gearing Up for Summer Season". The Telegraph. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  22. ^ "Washboard Jungle Benefit Concert at Andy's Summer Playhouse". The Telegraph. 20 May 1993. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  23. ^ "WXPN Playlist for 04-09-2012". Retrieved 2012-06-04.
  24. ^ "Knock on Wood Episode 33: Manias". WGXC. 2011-10-21. Retrieved 2012-06-04.
  25. ^ "A Washboard Jungle Reunion Concert". Dixon Place. 2010-07-01. Retrieved 2012-06-04.

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