Sunday, June 22, 2014

blind faith

Blind Faith found their way into the studio to record their only album in a sea of controversy.   The short-lived supergroup formed from the ashes of Cream, Traffic, and Family.  Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood started the band and began rehearsing at Winwood’s cottage in Berkshire.  

Clapton considers: “In Cream, there was a constant battle between Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce.  They loved each other’s playing, but they couldn’t stand the sight of each other. I was the mediator and I was getting tired of that ... There really was no preconceived plan as to how long the group would continue or how permanent it would be.  The only plan was Stevie and I getting together last year and saying we would form a band to record. From that point on everything was coincidental. The fact that we made an album together was a miracle!...There were a lot of compromises to be made in that band and each of us held back.   I thought originally that Stevie and I would be a dominating force behind which Ginger could settle back behind, but Stevie is a very reticent sort of musician who steps back when he hears someone forcing their way through. I'm a bit like that myself and what happened was that we were all standing back waiting for someone to lead and no one did." 

Winwood revealed:  “When I left Traffic in January, I knew I was going to work with Eric.  We’d talked about it for ages. He’d just quit Cream and I’d gone through a lot of changes with TraffIc, and we were keen to do something...I had to convince Eric to let Ginger [Baker] join.  We'd played together before and he was someone I really respected as a drummer and enjoyed working with. It wasn’t until later that I realised how much Cream had been built round the interaction of Ginger and Eric. I knew Ginger did serious drugs but I didn’t realise how destructive that could be, because I’d never encountered it before...Gradually, Clapton and I were both becoming acutely aware of the hype building up.  The industry was waking up to the fact that The Beatles - There was the clear possibility that other bands could achieve similar things. They could see spin- offs, merchandising, slices of pie to be had. It was the dawn of corporate rock and we were among the first victims. That’s why we wanted to start off with a free concert, to show that we weren’t part of that corporate business mentality...I knew it was a hype as soon as it was called Blind Faith.  I think the name was largely Eric’s idea, but I felt it had certain negative implications. I went along with it only because, after a while, if a band is successful, the name loses its meaning and just becomes a label.”

Baker says:  “We got to Stevie’s cottage in the middle of a field, and I settled down at Jim Capaldi’s drumkit and we just played for hours.  Musically, Stevie and I got along wonderfully. He was one of the greatest musicians I’ve ever worked with. What I didn’t know then was that Eric would probably rather have worked with Jim Capaldi. It’s a curious thing with me and Eric. I regard him as the nearest thing I’ve got to a brother, but we always found it difficult to talk about personal things. He never explained, for example, that he wanted it all to be a much more low-key affair than Cream had been.”

Ric Gresh was brought in to play bass, although he didn't tell his (former) bandmates in Family until just before they were to start a tour.  Sessions began in London at Morgan Studios with Island Records chief Chris Blackwell at the production desk; but he was replaced by Jimmy Miller after Blackwell neglected to record a jam in the studio.  Recording continued at Olympic Studios with Steve Winwood on vocals, keyboards, and guitars;  Eric Clapton on guitars and vocals on "Do What You Like";  Ric Grech on bass guitar, violin; and vocals on "Do What You Like";  and Ginger Baker on drums, percussion; and vocals on "Do What You Like".  'Blind Faith' became a smash hit, going to the top of the album charts on both sides of the pond, despite the uproar over the cover designed by photographer  Bob Seidemann featuring a topless pubescent girl.  The album photograph gave the band its name.

"Can't Find My Way Home"

 "Presence of the Lord"

1969 in Hyde Park

'Blind Faith' 

full album

Side one

1.  "Had to Cry Today"   Steve Winwood 8:48
2. "Can't Find My Way Home"   Steve Winwood 3:16
3.  "Well All Right"  Buddy Holly, Jerry Allison, Joe B. Mauldin 4:27
4. "Presence of the Lord"   Eric Clapton 4:50
Side two
1. "Sea of Joy"   Steve Winwood 5:22
2. "Do What You Like"  Ginger Baker 15:20

2001 bonus tracks

7. "Sleeping In The Ground"   Sam Myers 2:49
8. "Can't Find My Way Home" (electric version) Steve Winwood 5:40
9. "Acoustic Jam"   Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Ric Grech 15:50
10. "Time Winds"   Steve Winwood 3:15
11. "Sleeping In The Ground" (slow blues version) Sam Myers 4:44
2001 bonus disc
No. Title Writer(s) Length
1. "Jam No.1: Very Long & Good Jam"   Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker 14:01
2. "Jam No.2: Slow Jam No. 1"   Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker 15:06
3. "Jam No.3: Change of Address Jam"   Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker 12:06
4. "Jam No.4: Slow Jam No. 2"   Steve Winwood, Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker 16:06

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