A Matter of Blind Faith? A Super-Group Is Born
On February 8, 1969, a new band formed by Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker in the wake of Cream’s demise went into the studio. Blind Faith was born.
On February 8, 1969, the new band formed by Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker in the wake of Cream’s demise was announced to the world. It would come to be called Blind Faith. The main difference at the beginning? 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.
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. Things didn’t work out, so Jimmy Miller took over. Winwood 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 February 20 to late June were relatively calm.
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 realized how good it was.”
February 9, 2015 at 4:36 am
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!
February 9, 2015 at 7:43 am
Rick, great story!
March 10, 2015 at 9:04 pm
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…
March 10, 2015 at 10:47 pm
Saw them at MSG Delaney and Bonny with friends and a group called Free opened the show . wow what a night, what a show
February 8, 2016 at 1:04 pm
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,
February 8, 2016 at 1:35 pm
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.
February 8, 2017 at 10:10 pm
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!
February 9, 2017 at 12:14 am
I saw Blind Faith in Hawaii back in 1969. This may have been their last concert. A great band. A great concert.
February 9, 2017 at 11:07 am
I was lucky to see Blind Faith in New York. Great Concert.
April 4, 2017 at 3:53 pm
I say them in chicago il. In july 69. Very cool concert
Casey Del Casino
April 5, 2017 at 3:52 am
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!
February 9, 2018 at 3:25 am
Who was in Powerhouse with EC and Stevie Winwood? I thought that David Mason recorded on a track. When I was in college 1972-1973 while in college I took The Evolution of Jazz, Blues, and Rock which required a 50 + page term paper. I chose EC and the basic theme of forming a band, being on the verge of or successful and changing his persona, appearance, hairstyles, bandages, etc. I was lucky enough to have resources of the Washington D.C. area and it’s disc Rockies, radio and tv stations, and studios available. In this I provided a 90 minute cassette for the professor. In my research I located 4 The Powerhouse studio cuts. One was Step’n Out, and only 2 others have turned up on u tube. I think Baker and Bruce were left out and possibly Winwood did not want Mason involved. Still one of those what is. But Clapton might never have hooked up with Delaney and Bonnie and Friends and Derek and The Dominos.
March 17, 2018 at 9:01 am
I also saw them in Chicago. It was at the old Amphitheatre, a big barn of a building where the Democrats had held their infamous convention just a year before (since torn down). I remember the acoustics were terrible from where I sat and their performance perfunctory at best. Plus Steve was singing in this godawful high register. I was a huge Cream fan at the time. A year later I saw Traffic (playing as a trio) at the Aragon Ballroom and was knocked out. I saw Steve and Eric at Madison Square Garden in 2008 and again the next year, when they toured nationwide, here in Chicago, and that was outstanding. In retrospect seeing Steve and Eric together was comparable to seeing Mozart and Beethoven in concert—fantastic musicians and immortal music. Had Blind Faith been allowed to develop slowly and organically instead of being rushed into the studio, they might have given us several or many albums. But the one they did give us is a gem.
February 12, 2019 at 7:27 am
Yes. The fact that their great songs still hold up – especially when Steve and Eric perform them- says a lot. I reckon they had one more great album in them.
I saw both Eric ( distracted; lacking energy) and Steve ( amazing) live in concert separately, last year. I agree that the Clapton / Winwood MSG concert is an absolute classic. Steve is an amazing guitarist: not often recognised.
February 9, 2022 at 3:23 am
Saw them at Bridgeport, Ct at an outdoor venue. They played with Delaney and Bonnie and friends, let it rain is one of the songs I remember. Did it really happen. Sometimes I wonder. Went with mark s. And John m. I think, great times.
February 9, 2023 at 10:50 pm
What? No mention of the scandalous album cover?