Friday, May 21, 2010

Blind Faith - Blind Faith (LP, Polydor)

Blind Faith was either one of the great successes of the late '60s, or it was a disaster of monumental proportions - I'm not too certain myself. In actual fact, Blind Faith was probably both. The band compiled an enviable record - they generated some great songs, still regarded as classics 30-plus years later; they sold hundreds of thousands of concert tickets and perhaps a million more albums at the time; and they were a powerful force in the music industry. And they did it all in under seven months together.

Blind Faith's beginnings dated from 1968, the initial spark for the band coming from Clapton and Steve Winwood amidst the break up of their respective bands (Cream in Clapton's case, and Traffic in Winwood's). The notion of forming a band took shape as an eventual goal during jams between the two that lasted for hours. These ideas took a sharp, more immediate turn when Ginger Baker turned up to sit in with them. The results were impressive to all concerned, and the drummer was eager to be let into the group they were planning. The final version of the band came together with the addition of Rick Grech on bass. The name Blind Faith is a cynical reference that reflected Clapton's outlook on the new group.

Their first (and last) album remains one of the best albums of the era, despite the crash-and-burn history of the band. The album merges the soulful blues of Traffic with the heavy riffs & sprawling jams of Cream for a very unique sound. Exceptional tracks include the electric blues of "Had to Cry Today", the acoustic-textured "Can't Find My Way Home" and the lifting "Presence of the Lord" and "Sea of Joy". The biggest disappointment would have to be Ginger Baker's "Do What You Like", which is quite frankly a waste of vinyl. Unfortunately, despite the band sounding cohesive, fate had other plans for them, leaving us with only these 42 minutes as their legacy.

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