Thursday, December 19, 2019

Blind Faith

Rock musicians are kind of like a high school clique. This one's friends with that one and then, not so much. That one moves on, hooks up with this one, then the ex comes along… That really was the case in the late 60s with the first rock supergroups, among them, Blind Faith. Okay, so Cream broke up in 1968 and Traffic was on a bit of a hiatus. Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood were milling about; Clapton had played with the Beatles and John Lennon even suggested that Eric join the band on a tense day in which George Harrison essentially quit the Beatles. While still with Traffic, Jimi Hendrix asked Winwood to play organ on "Voodoo Chile." 

In early 1969, Ginger Baker joined up with former bandmate, Clapton, and Winwood at Traffic's studio in Berkshire. As the sessions progressed, they, in turn, were joined by Traffic bandmates, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood. Rumor is, going forward, Clapton would have preferred working with Capaldi than Baker, but the point was moot, neither Capaldi nor Wood was interested in leaving Traffic, though Traffic would break up shortly thereafter. Wait – where's my scorecard? – The group, now consisting of Clapton, Winwood, and Baker was announced as a thing in February 1969 with the trio adding Ric Grech on bass, but still not having a name.

The American Issue

That would come with the controversial photograph that graced the album cover, a nude photograph of a young girl holding the hood ornament of a 1957 Belair. Keep in mind that the only albums up to that point that didn't have the band's name and the title of the LP on the cover had been King Crimson's In the Court of the Crimson King, Abbey Road, Music from the Big Pink and The Velvet Underground and Nico.

Photographer, Bob Seidermann, had in his mind what he wanted to capture. In many an article, he has tried to explain the concept, but it seems to be something that was just there in his mind and he could only express it visually. Despite the nudity of the cover, Seiderman was hoping to express innocence in the form of a girl as young as Shakespeare's Juliet, in this case, an 11-year-old. The photograph was of Mariora Goschen who was paid £40. Seiderman was given consent for the photograph by Goschen’s parents. He ultimately called the photograph "Blind Faith," which of course would become the band's name. 

Blind Faith's most famous track, "Can't Find My Way Home" was written by Winwood and is one of those tracks that nearly everybody knows, but no one knows who it’s by, despite Winwood's unmistakable vocal. Without much rehearsal time behind them, Blind Faith would play a free concert on June 7, 1969, at London’s Hyde Park. It would be the biggest concert ever held up to that point with upwards of one hundred thousand in attendance, a record that would, of course, be shattered by Woodstock's half a million strong less than two months later. And keep in mind that in 1969, Winwood was 21, Clapton 24, Grech 22 and Ginger Baker the old man at 27. 

Blind Faith would only produce one LP. Clapton would go on to Delaney and Bonnie, Derek and the Dominoes and his solo career, Winwood would return for Traffic's best jams, while Baker formed another supergroup, Ginger Baker's Air Force with Grech, Denny Laine from The Moody Blues, who would go on to work with McCartney and Wings, and Alan White who would move on to Yes. 

Did you get all that? 

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