The Washington Squares were a deliberate throwback to the days of earnest, politically oriented folk groups like Peter, Paul & Mary, even though they formed 20 years after the peak of the folk boom. The New York City based trio, comprising Lauren Agnelli, Tom Goodkind, and Bruce Paskow, dressed in matching outfits reminiscent of the days of the beat poets, including striped shirts, black berets, and sunglasses, with Goodkind and Paskow affecting goatees. They resurrected old folk songs and wrote new ones in the same vibrant style, harmonizing on stirring anthems of social consciousness. But because they appeared in the Reagan-dominated early '80s, when there was no contemporary political movement within popular music to speak of, because they adopted a retro style, and because they laced their performances with humor, it was sometimes hard to tell how seriously to take them. The answer was that they were serious, albeit in a post-modern, ironic way.