Washboard Jungle | Sunnyland

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Folk: Alternative Folk Folk: Modern Folk Moods: Mood: Quirky
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by Washboard Jungle

The greatest post-modern jug band you’ve never heard of branches out in all directions on this reunion album, including comic and serious originals as well as their usual (mis)treatment of classics ranging from Donovan to The Ramones.
Genre: Folk: Alternative Folk
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  Song Share Time Download
1. There Is a Mountain
2:34 $0.99
2. (We Do The) Slack Butt
4:40 $0.99
3. Sunnyland
4:18 $0.99
4. Old Piney Man Blues
2:24 $0.99
5. Dirt and Hay
3:59 $0.99
6. Time Flies
2:03 $0.99
7. Did You Find the Drum
3:21 $0.99
8. Another Photograph
3:07 $0.99
9. La Valse de Ratner
3:11 $0.99
10. This Is the Chorus
2:05 $0.99
11. Hold Me Tight
3:23 $0.99
12. Roadrunner
1:58 $0.99
13. L'arbre est dans ses feuilles (Live)
4:18 $0.99
14. Roadrunner Big Mon
3:33 $0.99
15. Blitzkrieg Bop
2:27 $0.99
16. Immigrant Song
3:11 $0.99
17. Last There Is a Remix
2:57 $0.99
18. Go to Your Room!
1:13 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes

WASHBOARD JUNGLE is Bob Goldberg, Henry Hample, McPaul Smith and Stuart Cameron Vance.

We recorded most of these tracks at our home studios using Apple Garage Band. In most cases, Henry’s parts were recorded in Grand Coteau, Louisiana, McPaul’s in Montclair, New Jersey, Bob’s in Brooklyn, New York, and Stuart’s in Pleasantville, New York. Bob also recorded some tracks at Greene Hill School and at Brooklyn Conservatory of Music.

1) There Is A Mountain (Donovan Leitch)
McPaul: vocal, guitar, bass, percussion, coins
Bob: vocal, accordion, melodica, whistling
Stuart: vocal, guitar
Henry: vocal, violin

This was the first song we recorded for this album. McP started playing the riff one day on a Larrivee parlor guitar he had recently acquired. He recorded the bass, guitar, first vocal part and coin percussion on Garage Band, did a rough mix, then sent an Mp3 file of it to the other lads. Each guy added more voices and instruments and sent the tracks back to McPaul, and voila, a recording process was born. Far too many parts were created – only about a third of them actually made it into this mix. Many of the others are in “Last there is a Remix.”

2) (WE DO THE) SLACK BUTT (McPaul Smith)
McPaul: vocals, ukulele, guitar, percussion, GB Clavinet
Henry: fiddle, harmonica, vocals
Stuart: acoustic and electric guitars, vocals
Bob: vocals, garage band piano, deer grunter, squeaky things

McPaul wrote this, and we performed it once or twice, but he never wanted to record it. But Bob did, so he started this one, which McPaul ended up producing the kitchen sink into.

Bands who mythologize their own histories in song always seem laughably pompous, and laughably pompous is a big part of our aesthetic, so this was a natural. Who’s in the song? We four, Dan Ratner, our late great road manager, and many regulars from the Public Theater’s “No Shame” Cabaret series. We played that show a bunch of times. Ann and Jen are the Late Bloomers, a great insane comedy/music team whom we met there and who became friends. Doug Skinner is a talented songwriter and musician who works with Bill Irwin sometimes. And Bonnie is Bonnie Wiseman, a stripper/clown. Bonnie does a bit where she tosses grapes into the air and catches them in her mouth. One goes down her shirt; she digs around to find it. She can’t, and ends up taking off every stitch of clothing looking for it. In the punch line moment, she lifts up her left boob and it falls out from under. The song gives Dan the task of “helping Bonnie find the grape,” since he was such a James-Bond-Type. This is yet another example of us amusing ourselves and six other people with jokes no larger audience would ever get. No wonder we ended up where we did after all that work.

3) SUNNYLAND (Stuart Cameron Vance, “rap” by all of us)
Stuart: vocal, guitar
Bob: vocal, accordion, deer grunter and squeakers
Henry: vocal, violin
McPaul: vocal, guitar, bass, percussion

Sunnyland is the brand of Washboard that we play. Stuart, as the only Californian in the band, was inspired by that name to write a song about life in the San Fernando Valley. If there’s a big hit single on this album, it’s this.

4) OLD PINEY MAN BLUES (Bob Goldberg)
Bob: vocal, accordion, piano
McPaul: vocal, guitar, percussion
Henry: vocal, mandolin
Stuart: vocal, bass

The Old Piney Man first appeared in “Old Joe Clark” (on The Wash Cycle). We will sing this in his honor, until there is a New Piney Man Blues.

5) DIRT AND HAY (Washboard Jungle, Mostly Bob and McPaul)
Bob: vocal, glockenspiel, xylophone, recorder, accordion, bass and frame drums, japan banjo, finger cymbal, electronic sound manipulations.
McPaul: vocal, bass, goy’s harp
Stuart: vocal, guitar
Henry: vocal, violin, mandolin
Katia: phone call

Sometimes when you have two things, you put them together, and then you have two things.

6) TIME FLIES (McPaul Smith)
McPaul: vocal, bass, percussion
Stuart: vocal
Bob: vocal, percussion
Henry: vocal

A song dedicated to Dan Ratner, our late, great road manager. It sucks visiting someone in the hospital, but it sucks even worse when you’re the person in the hospital bed. Same deal for funerals, only more so.

7) DID YOU FIND THE DRUM (Bob Goldberg)
Bob: vocal, ukulele, washboard, wrappers
McPaul: vocal, bass, harmonica
Henry: violins, vocal
Stuart: lap steel guitar, nylon-string and electric guitars, vocal

Dan Ratner, did many good things for us, including leaving one of our drums on the sidewalk outside the Public Theater after a “No Shame” gig. We still wonder where the drum ended up.

8) ANOTHER PHOTOGRAPH (Stuart Cameron Vance)
Stuart: vocals, guitar, percussion
McPaul: bass, vocals, percussion
Bob: Accordion, percussion
Henry: violin, mandolin

This is the third song about Dan, written by Stuart who knew him the longest because they were roommates in college. Dan had an MFA in photography from NYU, and spent a lot of time photographing broken down amusement parks.

9) LA VALSE DE RATNER (Henry Hample)
Henry: Vocal, guitar, fiddle, Cajun accordion
McPaul: bass, washboard, vocal
Stuart: guitar, lap-steel guitar, vocal
Bob: Piano, Cajun Triangle.

The fourth song dedicated to the memory of Mr. Dan Ratner, written by Henry, a New Yorker who lives in Louisiana and is in high demand as a Cajun fiddler. “Go Figure,” as the French would say.

10) THIS IS THE CHORUS (Perkins/Johns)
Bob: Piano, vocals
Stuart: kazoos, slide whistle, vocals
McPaul: Bass, lasagna percussion, vocals
Henry: ukulele, vocals

Many moons ago Bob purchased a cassette tape compilation of music by a 1930s Indiana jug band called “The Hoosier Hot Shots.” That’s where we found this song. Their version only has two verses, so we made up the third. If you pay us thirteen dollars, we will stop. (Hezzie Trietsch, we subsequently found out, was a washboard innovator, and a slide whistle virtuoso.)

11) HOLD ME TIGHT (Johnny Nash)
McPaul: vocal, bass, percussion, piano
Stuart: vocal, mandolin
Bob: accordion
Henry: banjo

We learned this a long time ago, played it at a few gigs, then left it behind. But we revived it for this album because it’s so dang pretty. There’s tons of room tone on this track because the banjo part was recorded with the other tracks up loud on stereo speakers in Henry’s room. You’re not supposed to record like that, but it made this sound nice, for some reason. Probably all that Louisiana humidity.

12) ROADRUNNER (Barbara Cameron)
Henry: vocals, mandolin, fiddle
Bob: Washboard necktie, yelling.
McPaul: Bass, vocals
Stuart: guitar, vocals

This was recorded with the whole band together in McPaul’s music room in Montclair on a day when Henry was in town visiting. We did one pass where we all played together, then another pass for vocals, then another pass where Henry overdubbed fiddle. We played this song at many, many gigs but never recorded it before this. (Dedicate this to the two Jamaican ladies, if we can remember their names).

13) L’ARBRE EST DANS SES FEUILLES (Traditional Cajun)
Henry: vocal, gesticulations
Bob: vocal, gesticulations
Stuart: vocal, gesticulations
Henry: vocal, gesticulations

Henry went to grad school to study ethnomusicology and all we got was this Cajun song. It’s in French. It was recorded at either Dixon Place (Dec 6, 1999) or at a Dixon Place benefit at PS 122 on (June 3, 2002). We have no idea what they are laughing at.

14) ROADRUNNER / BIG MON (Jonathan Richman/Bill Monroe)
Henry: Fiddle
Stuart: vocals, guitar
Bob: piano, vocals
Paul: Bass, vocals
Hudson Harriman-Smith: bongos
Widows and Orphans: ambience

This was a spontaneous performance during a holiday party in the living room at Bob’s house in Brooklyn. Luckily Bob had his digital recorder going. Our families were there, you can hear them talking, and that’s McPaul’s son Hudson guesting on bongos. We used to quote the count-off in Jonathan Richman’s “Roadrunner” when we played the Roadrunner theme. So when Henry was playing this song “Big Mon,” which none of us knew, Stuart started singing the Jonathan Richman lyrics, and off we went. Pretty good for five jokers feeling their way through something they never played together before.

15) BLITZKRIEG BOP (The Ramones)
Bob: recorders, uke, vocals
McPaul: bass, percussion, guitar, vocals
Stuart: vocals
Henry: banjo, fiddle, vocals

If you don’t love the Ramones, you’re wrong.

16) IMMIGRANT SONG (Page/Plant)
Bob: bass xylophone, drums, woodblocks, sawblade gong, vocals
McPaul: ukulele, thunder tube, vocals
Stuart: vocals, faux shakuhachi, incantations
Henry: vocals
Parker: Barking

If you don’t love The Immigrant Song, you’re also wrong.

We put together this arrangement for a show called “The Song Remains Inane” at the Knitting Factory, where a bunch of different interesting bands sang Zep songs.

17) LAST THERE IS A REMIX (Washboard Jungle)
Stuart: vocal, guitars
Bob: vocal, metallophone, accordion, melodica, percussion
McPaul: vocal, one bass note on the piano
Henry: vocal

This started out with some leftovers from “Concept”, with a bit of “Photograph” mixed in, and some things turned backwards. McPaul did a whole different remix, but this one won out, for some reason, probably Bob.

18) GO TO YOUR ROOM (Henry Hample)
Hen: uke, vocals
Stu: kazoo, bass, vocals
Bob: woodblock, cowbell, door slam
Screamin’ Jed Weissberg: screamin’

Henry wrote this as the theme song for a TV show. It was the last thing recorded before the band unsuccessfully broke up in 1994. McPaul isn’t on it because he was in Florida. This was recorded at the Brooklyn Academy of Noise (Douglass Street).



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