BLIND FAITH – ” Blind Faith ” Classic Albums

Posted: January 5, 2018 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
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The year 1969 has not been a very good one for rock and roll. Outside of “Tommy” and The Band’s decision to go on tour, we had not had that much to get excited about.

Art theorists have hypothesized that artists are usually most inspired in times of crisis, that the forces of history push them to greater personal achievements. Blind Faith could be viewed as an attempt to jar rock out of these doldrums. The group is based on the idea that if you take three of the best soloists around and form them into a single smooth-functioning unit, the result will be one incredible rock band. Ego conflicts must be kept at a minimum; solos are taken not because someone feels like flashing for a while, but because the song calls for a solo.

Comprising guitarist Eric Clapton and drummer Ginger Baker from Cream, bassist Ric Grech from the art-rock Leicester group Family and the multi-talented musician and vocalist Steve Winwood, the erstwhile Little Stevie who had starred in Birmingham’s Spencer Davis Group and then entered the hippy underground with the amazing Traffic in 1967. Ostensibly a low-key adjunct to their other ‘day” jobs Blind Faith had took on a life force of its own. After jamming at Morgan Studios in North West London with Island head honcho Chris Blackwell behind the desk the group began to hit their straps with a vengeance, but for some reason the tape op had not preseds the play button and the sessions, which included guest guitarist Denny Laine from The Moody Blues, were never captured for posterity.

They released the album Blind Faith in August 1969 with producer Jimmy Miller bringing the disparate characters into line on a six track LP that included three Winwood originals, Clapton’s divine “Presence of the Lord” (much influenced by his friendship with George Harrison) and a Ginger jam out on the lengthy “Do What You Like”.  

By far the best song is Presence Of The Lord a track written by Eric Clapton which explains in part how Blind Faith ever came to be. The majesty of the organ even makes it sound like a church song, until Clapton wah-wahs off on a quick solo that’s so good it makes me want to apologize for every snide thing I’ve ever said or thought about him. The first time I heard this song, it brought me out of my listening chair, It still does even now. Never has a guitarist said so much so beautifully in such a short time. The solo is so inspirational it can’t help but make the lyrics that much more believable.

“Had To Cry Today”.   goes through several interesting changes, Clapton always bringing it back to the main theme. The choice of Rick Grech, heretofore almost unknown, as bassist is fully justified by his work on this song. The other highlight “Can’t Find My Way Home”  is a Pleading Stevie Winwood Song featuring highly innovative percussion from Ginger Baker.

“Do What You Like” is a fine five-minute rock song which is destroyed when it is dragged out ten extra minutes by solos for the sake of solos. Baker’s lyrics state the Blind Faith formula (‘Do right use your head/Everybody must be fed/Get together break your bread/Yes together that’s what I said.’), but the music then proceeds to obliterate it. Winwood’s solo is the only one worthy of remaining in the song; he is the most consistent musician on the album. Clapton’s is perfectly competent, but nothing new or exceptional. Baker confuses quantity with quality; his solo starts out nicely enough, but quickly falls apart despite his insistence on continuing. Poor Ginger is bound and determined to someday match the original version of Toad; he is, at this rate, destined to retire a very frustrated drummer. The bass solo is sheer self-indulgence.

I don’t know what the explanation for this cut is, but I could venture a calculated guess. Atlantic President Ahmet Ertegun was recently quoted as saying, ‘If we’d known they were going to do this well (on the American tour), we wouldn’t have rushed the album’. I wouldn’t be surprised if this song falls into the throwaway solo rut because Blind Faith didn’t have enough new material to fill an album in time to meet Atlantic’s deadline, and resolved the problem by extending a song they already did have.

This album is better than any of Cream’s and about as good as any of Traffic’s. On the basis of the potential shown in the best cuts, and writing off “Do What You Like” as a fluke mistake that won’t be repeated.

Blind Faith [VINYL] by Blind Faith

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