Thursday, May 17, 2007

Transcendently Delusional Rock Bombast

Why is it that Ohio seems to breed greatness? Lots of presidents were born there, including the immense William Howard Taft. The first ambulance service was established in Cincinnati. Cleveland had America's first traffic light. More importantly, an Ohioan invented the pop-top can. And, Akron is the rubber capital of the world. You get the picture – massive, massive achievements. Ohio, like Florida and Texas, is a kind of cultural/geographical vortex. Things survive there after they’ve vanished elsewhere. And it’s got so many damn cities. Plus it has that strange confluence of flat mid-western rust-beltisms and in-grown Appalachian-style coal-miner funkiness. In music, all I need to say is that Guided By Voices, Devo and Bill Fox are all from the Buckeye State.

Here’s another piece of work from Ohio. This is J.D. Blackfoot from the 1970 psychedelic-rock opus The Ultimate Prophecy, re-issued this month with loads of bonus tracks on Fallout Records. J.D. Blackfoot was born Benjamin Franklin Van Dervort (seems like a pretty good stage name to me), but rockers, as you know, like to empathize with the Native American (see Headstone Circus), and combine that with some bar-boogie and psychoactive dissipation, pop mysticism, and sometimes you get wonderful blends of transcendently delusional rock bombast. The title track is complete Spinal Tap – think Stonehenge, with a touch of epic Tennysonian Iron Maiden jams, one can also hear hints of Mollusk-era Ween, and a dash of Grand Funk Railroad, which is somehow both sodden and a leavening agent ... Mountain? Jethro Tull? (I’m quite the salesman). Listen for the heroic beat-incontinent drumming.

We’re told that shortly after the release of this record and the singles that followed, Blackfoot had a vision "in which he witnessed the Battle of Little Bighorn (1876), prompting him to become increasingly interested in the plight of native Americans. He has devoted much of his creative energy to them since."

"The Ultimate Prophecy" - J.D. Blackfoot

"Every Day - Every Night" - J.D. Blackfoot

"Save This World Today" - J.D. Blackfoot


Lefty said...

Sounds like what you'd hear going through the haunted house ride at the state fair. And you're on acid. And it's 1972. Scary!

Happy In Bag said...

Employees of Midwestern record stores quickly learned to duck and cover when reluctantly informing biker-types that every Blackfoot album is out of print.