J.D. Blackfoot

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1969) 

- J.D. Blackfoot (aka Benjamin Franklin Van Dervort, aka 

  Ben Vandervor) -- vocals, guitar

- Dan Waldron -- drums), percussion

- Michael Wheeler -- guitar

- Jeff Whitlock -- guitar


  line up 2 (1969)
- J.D. Blackfoot (aka Benjamin Franklin Van Dervort, aka 

  Ben Vandervor) -- vocals, guitar

NEW - Kenny May -- bass 
- Dan Waldron -- drums, percussion
- Jeff Whitlock -- vocals, guitar 


  line up 3 (1970)

- J.D. Blackfoot (aka Benjamin Franklin Van Dervort, aka 

  Ben Vandervor) -- vocals, guitar

NEW - Craig Fuller -- vocals, guitar 
NEW - Sterling Smith -- keyboards 
- Dan Waldron -- drums, percussion
- Jeff Whitlock -- vocals, guitar


  line up 4 (1970)

- J.D. Blackfoot (aka Benjamin Franklin Van Dervort, aka 

  Ben Vandervor) -- vocals, guitar

- Craig Fuller -- vocals, guitar 
- Sterling Smith - - keyboards 
NEW - Phil Stokes -- bass (replaced Kenny May) 
- Dan Waldron -- drums, percussion
- Jeff Whitlock - - vocals, guitar




- American Flyer (Craig Fuller)

- The Ebb Tides (Dan Waldron)

- Craig Fuller (solo efforts)

- Little Feat (Craig Fuller)

- The Load (Sterling Smith)

- Eric Katz and Craig Fuller

- Orange Noise (Phil Stokes)

- Pure Prairie League (Craig Fuller)

- Sanhedrin Move (Phil Stokes)

- Thirteenth Dilemma (Kenny May)





Genre: psych

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  The Ultimate Prophecy

Company: Mercury/Philips

Catalog: SR 61288

Year: 1970

Country/State: Cleveland, Ohio

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: includes insert

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 4233

Price: $100.00

Cost: $1.00


Although he's been recording on and off since the late-'60s and has written some quirky and interesting material, outside of a small devoted cult following, singer/guitarist J.D. Blackfoot remains largely unknown to most audiences. 


After a couple of years working in life insurance, in the mid-'60s Blackfoot decided to shift his career to music.   His professional musical career began as vocalist for the Columbus, Ohio band Tree.   While a member of Tree he came up with what was the concept for J.D. Blackfoot.  Finding a financial supporter, Blackfoot convinced Tree members Dan Waldron, Michael Wheeler, and Jeff Whitlock to help him record some demo material.  Former Thirteenth Dilemma bassist Kenny May was subsequently added to the line-up.

Signed by Mercury/Philips, the band went into the studio, making their debut with an interesting psych-heavy single:




- 1969's 'Who's Nuts Alfred' b/w 'Epitaph for a Head' (Mercury catalog number 40625)


The 45 attracted some regional attention which was enough for Mercury to green-light an album.  The band also expanded their lineup to include singer/guitarist Craig Fuller.

Subject to extensive hype among collectors, Id been looking for a copy of 1970's "The Ultimate Prophecy" for a couple of years.  Well, I finally stumbled across a copy at a yard sale and was anxious to check out what all the excitement was about.  Produced by Dale Frashuer  to my ears the LP sounded like it was recorded by two separate bands. With future Pure Prairie League/Little Feat singer/guitarist Craig Fuller responsible for most of side one,  tracks such as 'One Time Woman', 'Angel' and 'We Can Try' offered up attractive, if unexceptional country-rock numbers.  Think along the lines of early Poco, or Fuller's forthcoming Pure Prairie League catalog and you'd be in the right ballpark. There were a couple of exceptions - 'We Can Try' was a heavy rocker with a nifty lysergic touch.   In contrast, with namesake Blackfoot writing most of the material on the flip side (which was presented as a side-long suite with spoken word sections between the songs), material such as the title track, 'Death's Finale' and 'Waiting To Be Born' displayed a darker, psychedelic bent (complete with some great fuzz guitar). As you've probably guessed, though the lyrics were occasionally on the clunky and dated side ('Pink Sun'), but the flip side was far more interesting.  Perhaps not the brain melting psych masterpiece dealers would have you believe, but all-in-all not a bad addition to one's catalog and when you consider the album was recorded in New York City over the course of a single weekend - damn.   I'll also mention the country-rock tunes were all growers that I've come to appreciate over the years.

The Ultimate Prophecy" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) One Time Woman   (Craig Fuller) - 3:42

For an album billed as a psych masterpiece, 'One Time Woman; opened the collection with a surprisingly conventional slice of country-rock. It wasn't bad in a Poco kind of way; just wasn't very psychedelic which may explain why it was tapped as a single.   rating: *** stars
2.) Angel   (Craig Fuller) - 3:47

An attractive slightly psych-tinged ballad, 'Angel' has always reminded me a bit of Pure Prairie League's 'Amie' with a lysergic twist and a wonderful guitar solo about two minutes in.   Very nice and quite commercial.   Probably the track I would have tapped as a single had I been an early-'70s promoter.   rating: **** stars
3.) We Can Try   (Craig Fuller - J.D. Blackfoot) - 4:06

'We Can Try' was still country-rock, but this time out with a distinctive psych edge and a great chorus which made it one of the collection highlights.  rating: **** stars
4.) Good Day Extending Company   (Dan Waldron - Jeff Whitlock) - 4:41

Side one's heaviest rocker and another one of the album highlights ...  
5.) I've Never Seen You   (Kenny May) - 3:15

Back to Poco/Pure Prairie League-styled country-rock, or maybe it was more aptly described as folk-rock ...   I guess it didn't really mater since the results were actually quite pretty with some nice Craig Fuller guitar kicking the melody along.  rating: **** stars

(side 2)

1.) The Ultimate Prophecy   (J.D. Blackfoot - Dan Waldron) - 4:57

As mentioned, starting with the title track, it's hard to figure out how an album could have such a change in musical direction.   The spoken word section was a bit goofy, but licked long by Dan Waldron's frenetic drums and Blackfoot's energetic vocals, the rest of the song kicked butt.  rating: **** stars
2.) Death's Finale   (J.D. Blackfoot) - 3:38

Not sure why, but the acoustic parts of 'Death's Finale' have always reminded me of bad T.Rex.   The rest was decent hard rock.  rating: *** stars
3.) Cycles   (J.D. Blackfoot - Dan Waldron - Jeff Whitlock) - 3:29

Not sure about the accent on the opening monologue (mock Irish?), but once you got through it, musically 'Cycles' has a great jangle--rock that was more than enough to make up for the cheesy lyrics (okay, this was 1970).  rating: **** stars
4.) Waiting To Be Born   (J.D. Blackfoot - Jeff Whitlock) - 5:03

Nice melody; nice harmony vocals and the song featured  the album's best fuzz guitar work ...   rating: **** stars
5.) Pink Sun   (Dan Waldron - Jeff Whitlock) - 5:20

Hum, any song entitled 'Pink Sun' is bound to have a psych edge and that was the case here.  Nice way to end the album.   rating: **** stars


As mentioned, the album spun off a single in the form of:




- 1970's 'One Time Woman' b/w 'I've Never Seen You' (Philips catalog number 40679)




Also worth mentioning; for hardcore fans there are two versions of the LP.  The original featured the brown, Magret-styled picture of a man in bowler hat.   The second version (with the same catalog number and the same track listing, featured a misty photo of a monk.


Unfortunately, before, during and after the album recording sessions Blackfoot and the band ran into personnel issues.  Keyboardist Sterling Smith joined the group during the recording sessions.  Bassist May was fired at around the same time; replaced by Sanhedrin Move alumni Phil Stokes.  The changes apparently only made things worse with Blackfoot eventually simply walking away from the project and Mercury Records. 


For anyone interested,  Blackfoot is still in the business and has an interesting website at: http://jdblackfoot.com/