The Weigaltown Elemental Band
Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1976)
- Bernie DeNardo -- vocals, guitar
- Bill Kirby -- drums, percussion
- Skip Niebauer -- vocals, bass
- The Arkay IV (Skip Niebauer)
- The Arkay IV Revival (Skip Niebauer
- The Lakeland Rangers (Skip Niebauer
- The Limbos (Skip Niebauer)
- The Loose Change Band (Skip Niebauer)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Don't Hurt Yourself
Company: Old Ridge Records
Catalog: W 761
Country/State: Erie, Pennsylvania
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Comments: includes original insert and postcard
Catalog ID: 5166
Hailing from Erie Pennsylvania, singer/bassist Skip Niebauer had been a member of The Limbos before enjoying local success as part of The Arkay IV. Between 1966 and 1968 The Arkade IV managed to record a series of three singles and an album for the local Marion label.
- 1966's 'Surprise Love' b/w 'Another Way' (Marion catalog number 17811)
- 1968's 'Down from No. 9' b/w 'When I was Younger (Marion catalog number 18805)
split single Arkay IV and Dave Massello
- 1967's 'I'll Keep On Trying' b/w 'Demotion' (Marion catalog number 21668)
In the early 1970s Niebauer, guitarist Bernie DeNardo and drummer Bill Kirby, formed The Weilagtown Elemental Band. The trio apparently recorded a series of demos at Erie's American Artist Studio though those tapes didn't see a release until 1976 when they appeared as the group issued and self-produced "Don't Hurt Yourself." A couple of references indicated 300 copies of the LP were pressed. With Neibauer responsible for nine of the ten tracks, musically the set bounced all over the spectrum, including stabs at 1960s-styled folk-rock ('Don't Tell Me Love'), conventional blues ('Coal Freight Train'), country-rock ('Christmas Eve') and even plain goofy ('Git the Jing'). Much of the material was soaked in a distinctive pre-Springsteen blue-collar vibe (check out 'Sam' and 'Get the Jing). Most of the performances were entertaining and worth hearing, if most weren't going to stick in your head for an extended period of time. Their enthusiasm even managed to overcome the set's distinctively low-fi sound. Not a major criticism, but in being so diverse it was hard to get a grip on the trio's real sound. Elsewhere, with it's atypical droning rocker 'Early In the Evening' was probably the standout effort.
Hurt Yourself" track listing:
1.) Don't Tell Me Love (Skip Niebauer) - 3:11 rating: *** stars
I was surprised at how much I liked the folk-rock opener 'Don't Tell Me Love.' Admittedly the song wasn't particularly original but the acoustic 12 string guitar was nice and the melody was quirky - kind of The Grateful Dead-meets-The-Kingston Trio?
2.) Talkin' Blues, II (Skip Niebauer) - 3:27 rating; ** stars
Can't say I'm a big country-blues fan so 'Talkin' Blues, II' totally missed the target zone for me. The fact they were trying to be cute didn't help things. Okay, maybe the fuzz guitar solo was mildly funny.
3.) Sam (Skip Niebauer) - 4:01 rating; ** stars
Country-folk; folk-country ... beats me, but I didn't like it.
4.) Coal Freight Train (Skip Niebauer) - 4:01 rating: *** stars
Geez, harmonica opening ... yeah they clearly wanted to showcase their blues roots. Admittedly 'Coal Freight Train' wasn't nearly as bad as you might have expected.
5.) Git the Jing (Skip Niebauer) - 2:08 rating; ** stars
'Git the Jing' was a goofy '50s-flavored rock tune. A stoned version of Sha-na-na?
Certainly one of the more interesting Christmas-themed tunes you'll ever hear. Extra star just for the couplet "I had a girl; she was no lady; she and I drink wine and try to make babies ..."
2.) Alaine (Skip Niebauer) - 2:52 rating: *** stars
Pretty acoustic ballad with the band playing it relatively straight ...
3.) Let It Roll (Tom Beam) - 2:23 rating: *** stars
The lone non-original, 'Let It Roll' was a decent nod to the Jerry Lee Lewis/Elvis Presley school of rock. Bernie DeNardo's guitar work provided the highlight.
4.) Easy Rider (Skip Niebauer) - 2:35 rating; ** stars
Back to country influences. Pass.
5.) Early In the Evening (Skip Niebauer) - 4:00 rating: **** stars
With the album's best melody the atypical Americana-styled rocker 'Early In the Evening' was ominous and quite arresting. Imagine The Band's Robbie Robertson and Pink Floyd's David Gilmour colliding. Not sure what the percussive sounds were, but they sound pretty cool on a good pair of headphones.
Ah the miracle of the internet - someone actually stumbled on to my website and was interested and willing enough to provide an update:
I enjoy your website but I noticed an error on a band that is close to me.
Skip Niebauer was part of a band called Arkay IV not Arkade IV. If you are interested in updating your information, he is also the bassist/vocalist for The Loose Change Band currently. They have released several albums including ‘Lucky Penny’ and ‘Silver Dollar Classics’. In the past few years Skip has released a single called ‘Give Me Some’. Skip can be contacted at American Artist Studios to verify and provide you with details of the releases and other information. Coming from a small town his track record for band involvement is quite impressive. Thanks for taking the time to make the changes and let me know if you have any questions.
Interestingly, a month after I got that email I got one from Skip Niebuaer himself:
"I read the review of our album "Don't Hurt Yourself" by The Weigaltown Elemental Band I was involved with. Great review. Thanks! In the review and the related information you mentioned the band that was the predecessor of Weigaltown, but the spelling was incorrect. It's "Arkay IV". Thought you'd like to know."
Again, thanks for the review
For anyone interested, here's a link to American Artists Studios: http://www.americanartiststudio.visualnet.com/
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