Paskow, Goodkind, and Agnelli dressed, played, and sang in a style evocative of the idealistic, left-leaning folk revival groups of the Kennedy era, but added a layer of post-punk Reagan-era irony. Paskow had previously played in the punk band The Invaders; Agnelli had been in the Nervus Rex; Goodkind, the band's leader, had knocked around in U.S. Ape, and had been the founder of two NYC new music venues: Irving Plaza and the Peppermint Lounge.

The revivalist concept preceded any real familiarity with this genre of music: to put together their repertoire, the band bought a bunch of records, picked the brains of veteran folksingers, and pooled their money to send Goodkind to Washington, D.C. to do research on folk songs at the Library of Congress.

They followed the Kingston Trio in covering "Greenback Dollar" and Peter, Paul and Mary in the traditional folk song, "Samson and Delilah", and also performed many other traditional folk songs including a bittersweet Polish song associated with the union Solidarity. Many of their own original songs were powerfully political, albeit tempered; for example, "You Can't Kill Me" alludes to the assassination of gay San Francisco politician Harvey Milk with its line "Assassinated in Frisco for a straight man's crime".

The band released two records; The Washington Squares and Fair and Square. Their first was recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York City, and was produced by Mitch Easter, best known for his work with REM. Their second was produced by Steve Soles, probably best known for his work with Bob Dylan on the Rolling Thunder Revue, and as a member of the Alpha Band with T-Bone Burnett.

The group broke up after Paskow's death in 1994. Agnelli has continued to perform on and off (she sings on some of Brave Combo's albums). Goodkind left the music business for some years, re-emerging as the conductor and arranger for the TriBattery Pops, an orchestra of volunteers who live near the former site of New York's World Trade Center. He is also a voting member of his local community board in lower Manhattan.

Recordings

The Washington Squares (1987),

Fair and Square (1989),

From Greenwich Village, the Complete Washington Squares (1997),

Notes

^ Ruhlmann, William. "Washington Squares - Biography". Allmusic. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/p2163. Retrieved 2006-11-19. ,

^ "TriBattery Pops official site". http://www.TriBatteryPops.com. Retrieved 2006-11-19.