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Blind Faith

The British blues boom was beating a new drum with the onset of prog-rock in the late 60s; short-lived supergroup BLIND FAITH were one of the executive excesses of that time. Messrs Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker had already achieved “supergroup” status via CREAM, but with the latter drummer’s alienation to singer/bassist JACK BRUCE (now a solo artist in his own right), the London-based pair were on another mission.
From February ‘69, guitar-god Clapton and his ex-Powerhouse pal Steve Winwood (former TRAFFIC and SPENCER DAVIS GROUP frontman/keyboard player) set about creating a fresh take on the blues, mixing in elements of jazz, rock and soul, recruiting top sticksman Baker almost immediately; that May the quartet was completed by FAMILY bass man Ric Grech. Incidentally, Powerhouse were a short-stop combo from March ’66 for Clapton, Winwood, MANFRED MANN’s Paul Jones, the aforementioned BRUCE, Pete York and Ben Palmer – the first “supergroup” of sorts.
A buzz of anticipation and hype was set up by the music industry and tabloids as the quartet duly surfaced from their Surrey rehearsal basement to debut at London’s Hyde Park free festival on June 7. A few months later, without any further promotional UK or US concert, the Jimmy Miller-produced eponymous debut BLIND FAITH (1969) {*8} was finally unveiled. The cover art of the sleeve (designed by photographer Ben Seidemann) was first to gain attention, as it portrayed a pubescent girl in a topless pose holding a silver spaceship. The controversy over the girl herself (she was not as suggested a groupie or indeed Baker’s illegitimate daughter) caused much speculation, although their American bosses at Atco Records had already solved the problem by removing it forthwith. On top of the charts on both sides of the Big Pond, the hype had certainly worked as the group finally went on tour in Scandinavia and small-ish venues in the States. While Winwood would author three pieces, the rather long opening piece `Had To Cry Today’, `Sea Of Joy’ and the set’s highlight `Can’t Find My Way Home’, only one was afforded, the equally uplifting and soaring `Presence Of The Lord’. A cover of BUDDY HOLLY’s `Well All Right’ and a bumper 15-minute Baker finale, `Do What You Like’, closed the one and only chapter of BLIND FAITH as the multi-talented group splintered into various factions, CLAPTON as a solo artist (and as head of DEREK & THE DOMINOS), ditto WINWOOD (and with TRAFFIC again), BAKER on a raft of projects including AIRFORCE which featured Grech.
© MC Strong 1994-2006/GRD // rev-up MCS May2012

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