Blind Faith - Blind Faith (1969)

Blind Faith were a short-lived English rock supergroup, active in 1969.

In 1968, Cream broke up. Cream had attained massive success in a short few years, with their pioneering style of heavy blues-rock, but by the end they were being torn apart by the internal bickering of Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, with guitarist Eric Clapton tiring of their sound at the same time. In 1969 he began jamming with his friend Steve Winwood, whose band Traffic had also recently broken up. Ginger Baker joined the jam sessions, and though Clapton was reluctant at first to deal with superstardom again, Winwood persuaded him that they could have a great new band on their hands. They found a bassist in Ric Grech, formerly of the band Family, and a new super-group was formed. The band was christened Blind Faith - Steve Winwood (vocals/guitar/piano/organ), Eric Clapton (guitar), Ric Grech (bass/violin) and Ginger Baker (drums/percussion).
The public and the press were obviously very excited, and the band's first gig was a free concert in Hyde Park. This was followed by tours of Scandinavia and the US. Clapton was worried that Blind Faith would go in the same direction of Cream, and was critical of their first performances. This wasn't helped by the fact that they didn't have much new material, and were forced to play old Cream and Traffic songs to fill up their set.
Their self-titled album came out in August 1969 (with a cover that caused no small ammount of controversy), and it quickly topped the charts. Stylistically, it mixed guitar-driven blues-rock with mellower folk and jazz sounds. It would be fair to call it a mix of the Cream and Traffic sounds. Winwood's vocals were one of the high points, and it's also worth noting how his guitar playing easily kept pace with Clapton's on the opening number "Had To Cry Today", where they both traded solos. Winwood wrote most of the songs ("Had To Cry Today", "Can't Find My Way Home" and "Sea Of Joy"), with Clapton contributing "Presence Of The Lord" (which he would keep as part of his solo live set in years to come), and Ginger Baker's sole writing credit being the jazz-rock jam "Do What You Like". There was also one cover, a version of Buddy Holly's "Well All Right". The fact that there were only six songs on the album could be considered a flaw. "Do What You Like" was over fifteen minutes long, most of it taken up by a lengthy drum solo. Perhaps if the band had more time to develop their material without the public's high expectations looming over them, they could have produced more.
In the end, Blind Faith dissolved just two months after their only album. The band was flawed from the start, and never managed to reach their full potential. Nevertheless, they did leave behind a really good album as their legacy (despite only being six songs long!).
Eric Clapton went on to work as a sideman with Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, who had been their opening act on the US tour. Baker went on to form Ginger Baker's Air Force, with both Winwood and Grech as members. Winwood then reformed Traffic, and shortly afterwards Grech joined as the band's new bass player.

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2 comments:

Jazz Messenger said...

Thanks for sharing! excellent blog!

Gaspar Wasted said...

Thanks a lot!