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Blind Faith – Blind Faith (MFSL)

Blind Faith – Blind Faith 1969
MFSL
Released; August, 1969
Recorded; February 20-June 24, 1969
Genre; British blues, Psychedelic rock, pop
Length; 42:12
Label; Atco Records
Producer; Jimmy Miller

This is the only album recorded by the all-star band Blind Faith, which features Eric Clapton (John Mayall, Yardbirds, and Cream) on guitar, Steve Winwood (Spencer Davis, Traffic) on keyboards, fellow Cream member Ginger Baker on drums, as well as former Family bassist Rick Grech.

The group completed this album, which was produced by Jimmy Miller for Atlantic and Polydor Records in 1969. After touring that Summer, they went their separate ways.

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Blind Faith’s beginnings date to mid-1968, with the breakup of Cream. Rock’s original supergroup had become a financial powerhouse, selling millions of records within a few years and raising the group’s (and each member’s) repertoire to international popularity. Despite that success, the band was crumbling from within due to frequent animosity between Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, with Eric Clapton doing his best to mediate. In addition, Clapton had tired of being coerced into playing commercially driven blues, and hoped to move forward with a new, experimental, less strait-jacketed approach to the genre.

Steve Winwood was facing similar problems in The Spencer Davis Group, in which he had been the lead singer for three years. Winwood wanted to experiment with the band’s sound by infusing jazz elements, but left due to his musical differences, instead forming a new band — Traffic — in 1967. That band split temporarily in 1969, and Winwood started to jam with his good friend Eric in Clapton’s basement in Surrey, England. Winwood and Clapton had previously collaborated on the one-off “Powerhouse” project.

Clapton was pleased with the jam sessions and looked seriously toward starting a trio with Winwood, but they needed a drummer.

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Ginger Baker turned up to sit in with them in 1969, and the band took near-final form. But Clapton questioned letting Baker in the band, because he had promised Jack Bruce that, if they were to work with one another again, they would all three play. Moreover, Clapton didn’t want to reunite with Cream barely nine weeks after the breakup, and also didn’t want to deal with another “Cream-like” superstardom situation. Winwood ultimately persuaded Clapton to finalize Baker’s inclusion in the lineup, arguing that Ginger Baker strengthened their musicianship and that it would be hard to find an equally talented drummer.

By May 1969, Ric Grech, bassist with Family, was invited to join them (leaving Family, mid-tour). They laid down most of their album at Olympic Studios under the supervision of producer Jimmy Miller. Miller provided focus to the band, who often preferred jamming, over the standard commercial 3-5 minute track. By then the group was known collectively as Blind Faith, a slyly cynical reference by Clapton to his outlook on the new group.

There was an intense buzz about the band and its debut album Blind Faith, which on release topped Billboard’s Pop Albums chart in America (as it did the UK charts) and peaked at #40 on the Black Albums chart, an impressive feat for a British rock quartet.

In addition, Rolling Stone published three reviews of the album in their September 6, 1969 issue, which were written by Ed Leimbacher, Lester Bangs, and John Morthland.

They began to work out songs early in 1969, and in February and March the group was in London at Morgan Studios, preparing for the beginnings of basic tracks for their album although the first few almost finished songs didn’t show up until they were at Olympic Studios in April and May under the direction of producer Jimmy Miller. The music community was already aware of the linkup, despite Clapton’s claim that he was cutting an album of his own on which Winwood would play. The rock press wasn’t buying any of it, knowing that Baker was involved as well, and then the promoters and record companies got involved, pushing those concerned for an album and a tour.

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The recording of their album was interrupted by such a tour of Scandinavia, then a U.S. tour from July 11 (Newport) to August 24 (Hawaii), supported by Free and Delaney & Bonnie and Friends.

Although a chart topper the LP was recorded hurriedly and side two consisted of just two songs, one of them a 15-minute jam entitled “Do What You Like.” Nevertheless the band was able to produce two classic hits; Winwood’s “Can’t Find My Way Home” and Clapton’s “Presence of the Lord.”

Upon its release, Blind Faith topped Billboard’s charts at the No. #1 spot for Pop Album in both America and the United Kingdom.

The album sold more than half a million copies within the first month of its release and was a huge profit-making device for both Atlantic Records and for Clapton & Baker (since Blind Faith sales were helping to stimulate demand for Cream albums as well).

//upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/a/a8/BlindFaithBlindFaith.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.The release of the album provoked controversy because the cover featured a topless pubescent girl, holding in her hands a silver space ship designed by Mick Milligan, a jeweller at the Royal College of Art. Some perceived the ship as phallic!

The cover art was created by photographer Bob Seidemann, a personal friend and former flatmate of Clapton who is known primarily for his photos of Janis Joplin and the Grateful Dead.

Bizarre rumours both fuelled and were fuelled by the controversy, among them that the young girl was Baker’s illegitimate daughter or, alternatively as a fantasy, was a groupie kept in the meadowlands as a slave by the band members. Actually, the young chick was a London suburbanite, who posed upon consent by her parents and for a handsome fee, as described in Seidemann’s mini essay about the origins of the Blind Faith album cover artwork.

The image, titled “Blind Faith” by Seidemann, became the inspiration for the name of the band itself, which had been unnamed when the artwork was commissioned.

Alternate cover
The U.S. record company issued it with an alternative cover which showed a photograph of the band on the front.

Another interesting note about the cover is that it was nameless — only the wrapping paper told the buyer who the artist was and the name of the album.

According to Seidemann, “It was Eric who elected to not print the name of the band on the cover. This had never been done before. The name was printed on the wrapper, when the wrapper came off, so did the type.” In actuality, however, it had been done before, many times, in fact, including on The Rolling Stones’ 1964 debut album, Traffic’s self-titled 1968 album, also in the 1965 album Rubber Soul and in the 1966 album Revolver (both by The Beatles).

Though initially banned in some parts of the USA and other countries, the original artwork was quite popular and collectible. It also became available later in the 1970s on the RSO label worldwide, and in the USA as an import item. Under licensing agreement during the mid- 1980s, the Blind Faith album was remastered to high definition vinyl and gold compact disc by Mobile fidelity Sound Labs. During 2000 the entire album was remastered and re-released as a 2-CD deluxe edition release from Polydor that includes alternates, outtakes and studio rehearsal versions of the band’s music created during the early months of 1969.

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After the tour finished in August, the band returned to England surrounded by rumours of breakup or a possible UK tour. By October, the band had effectively dissolved within a year of its creation, and it did not produce another studio or live album! However, several live tracks from the band can be found on Steve Winwood’s 1995 retrospective album The Finer Things while outtakes and other live recordings were included in the “Deluxe Edition” of the BF album, released in 2000.

Clapton stepped out of the spotlight, first to sit in with the Plastic Ono Band and then to tour as a sideman for Delaney & Bonnie and Friends, with whom he had become good friends during the U.S. tour.

Ginger Baker had enjoyed his Blind Faith experience and looked to carry on an offshoot of the band in the form of Ginger Baker’s Air Force with both Grech and Winwood.

However, after a few shows together, Winwood left with Grech and went to Island Records to reunite and reform Traffic.

Winwood would later go on to have a successful solo career and Grech was a member of various groups before his death in 1990 due to a brain hemorrhage.

Tracklisting

Side 1

1. “Had to Cry Today” (Steve Winwood) – 8:48
2. “Can’t Find My Way Home” (Steve Winwood) – 3:16
3. “Well…All Right” (Norman Petty, Buddy Holly, Jerry Allison, Joe B. Mauldin) – 4:27
4. “Presence of the Lord” (Eric Clapton) – 4:50

Side 2

1. “Sea of Joy” (Steve Winwood) – 5:22
2. “Do What You Like” (Ginger Baker) – 15:20

Here she be:

http://rapidshare.com/files/13……part1.rar
http://rapidshare.com/files/13……part2.rar
http://rapidshare.com/files/13……part3.rar

Big thanks to monjay

August 15, 2008 Posted by | Blind Faith, Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Music_ClassicRock, Steve Winwood, _MUSIC | 1 Comment