A Matter of Blind Faith?

February 8, 2017
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On 8 February 1969 the new band formed by Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker in the wake of Cream’s demise had intended to go into the studio to start recording, Steve Winwood replaced Jack Bruce. The NME carried the story and reported that the band had been rehearsing at Winwood’s Berkshire cottage and things had been going well. They also reported that the band was still seeking a bass player and that as yet they were unnamed.

Later Ginger said, “We got to Stevie’s cottage in the middle of a field, and I settled down at Jim Capaldi’s drum kit and we just played for hours. Musically, Stevie and I got along wonderfully. He was one of the greatest musicians I’ve ever worked with. What I didn’t know then was that Eric would probably rather have worked with Jim Capaldi. It’s a curious thing with me and Eric. I regard him as the nearest thing I’ve got to a brother, but we always found it difficult to talk about personal things. He never explained, for example, that he wanted it all to be a much more low-key affair than Cream had been.”

Initially at their rehearsals Winwood was playing the bass lines on his organ, but the need for a real bass player was paramount to give Steve the freedom to play more creatively. Clapton admired Rick Grech, bass player for Leicester art-rockers Family, since the days when that band was known as The Farinas. According to Winwood, “I knew he was a good singer and could play great, and that was the guy we wanted. We didn’t even consider any other bass players. Once Rick was around, and he seemed like a nice guy it was just very casually accepted that he was in the band.”

By March Eric told the NME that “We’re just jamming and we have no definite plans for the future.” After the postponement of the February recording sessions things got underway at Morgan Studios with Chris Blackwell producing, but he didn’t really work out so Jimmy Miller took over. Steve knew Jimmy well from his time producing Traffic’s first three albums. Apparently sessions were sometimes tough, as Ginger in particular was struggling with his demons. But all things considered, the Sessions that ran from 20 February to late June were relatively calm.

blind-faith-well-all-right-1969
According to Winwood, “They were full of people hanging out, Eric had a lot of bohemian friends and liked to record with people around. The only thing I remember not being very pleased with was ‘Can’t Find My Way Home’. It was only when I heard it again later that I realised how good it was.”

When Blind Faith was finally chosen as the band’s name it seems to have been largely Eric’s idea with Steve Winwood feeling it had a somewhat negative vibe about it.

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12 comments

  1. Rick Pursom

    i was one of the lucky one that actually got to see these guys in concert. It was at the L.A. Forum. Bonnie Delany and Friends opened for them and also came out on stage for the finally of Sunshine of your Love. Delany started playing on the same fuitar as Eric. So Eric’s right hand was free. I was at the edge of the stage right at their feet. I reached up and Eric shook my hand! What a thrill!

  2. mshark

    Saw them the summer of 69 in San Antonio; I was 16 **hitchhiking around Texas for fun; met some girls in Austin who said they were going to San Antonio to see Blind Faith. —“What?! We’re going with you!”—Delaney & Bonnie opened, Clapton played with them.

    **same trip I was given a ride by Doug Sahm in austin; he offered a Rx bottle of codeine and said, “want some?” (I passed on it, but still had a blast) ah, memories…

  3. douglas

    good story and to see free what a gig iseen them as bad.co and they blew away the old Appollo in Glasgow what a night itwas never forget it never will it was W,O,W,

  4. Beth

    I saw Blind Faith at their debut free concert in London’s Hyde Park June 7th 1969. The band were not expecting the huge audience of over 100,000 that they drew and were rather nervous. The reaction here was better than expected but during their following US Tour riotous audiences demanding Cream-like pyrotechnics plus the stress of touring together effectively killed the band whose last gig was in Hawaii on August 24th 1969. So sadly, a very short-lived life for the Super Group who elicited such promise.

  5. L_Angelo_Mysterioso

    Yes, I’ve seen them in Hyde Park as well. They started with WELL ALL RIGHT from Buddy Holly and the sound around the 100000 People was amazing – although Rick Grech was not loud enough. Every time between the songs the crowd shoutet TURN ON THE BASS!

  6. Casey Del Casino

    Saw them @ Madison Square Garden. Delaney& Bonnie w/ Dave mason on guitar. Great show way before Blind Faith album came out. Blind Faith encored with Traffic’s “means to An End.” Awesome show even though on a revolving stage!

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