Blind Faith

Blind Faith

Polydor Records, 1969

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Almost 30 years after their one and only album came out, I seriously wonder why anyone considered Blind Faith a supergroup.

Sure, it took two of the best-known non-Beatle names in British music, Steve Winwood and Eric Clapton, and threw them together in an unlikely marriage with bassist Ric Grech and drummer Ginger Baker. It is surprising to hear Clapton working with Baker, two of the three members of the then recently-deceased Cream. This was a marriage that was, in fact, doomed from the start - the band lasted less than a year together - and their self-titled release is an album I'd be hard-pressed to call a classic in any fashion.

Of the six songs on this release, the only one that shines to my ears is "Can't Find My Way Home," a piece that highlights Winwood's voice and Clapton's acoustic (or is that dobro?) guitar work. It doesn't go for the bombast that makes up most of the rest of the album, and remains one song that is rightfully revered to this day.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

But you know the rest of the album is in trouble from the start of "Had To Cry Today," the album's opener. I will admit that some of Clapton's guitar work is pretty fanciful on this one, and it is interesting to hear him layer guitar solos together near the end of the song. However, the song engages in far too much repetition of musical ideas, and damned if Winwood's voice doesn't go south twice (once hardly noticeable, once painfully obvious).

The rest of the album doesn't fare much better. "Well All Right" isn't a terrible song by any means, but it rambles a bit before it gets to the core of the song. "Presence Of The Lord," the only song which Clapton wrote on the album, might have been his first leaning towards the spirituality he would embrace on a few of his solo albums, but this has a plodding beat, sounding almost like a church hymn. I don't think Winwood knew quite what to do with the track in the vocals department.

"Sea Of Joy" is another track that falls into the "just there" category, while "Do What You Like" is a jerk-off drum solo showcase for Baker, who for once doesn't impress me with his trap work. Going from a poor band track to a boring drum solo (peppered with an annoying mantra of "do what you like" repeated by the band in the background) makes this one damned near unlistenable.

But what about Grech's bass work, you might ask? Well, what about it? With the exception of on "Had To Cry Today" during Clapton's solos, Grech's bass gets hidden in the mix, and he doesn't do anything to try to separate himself from the rest of the band.

I'm sure I'm gonna hear from a lot of people on this one, but let's face it: if Blind Faith was so damned good, how come the band imploded so quickly? (And, yes, I know that Derek & The Dominoes suffered the same fate - we'll talk about them some other day.) Blind Faith is an album that has been painted as a classic by many people, but it is really a poor forgery of a supergroup.

Rating: D+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1998 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Polydor Records, and is used for informational purposes only.