[Review] Blind Faith (1969)

A supergroup for the ages, featuring the principal members of Cream and Traffic. Plus the bass player from Family.

Kronomyth 1.0: The Tream team.

For years, I saw this album as something of a disappointment. It sounded like Led Zeppelin with a timid folk singer. In truth, Blind Faith sounds a lot like Cream and Traffic, with one caveat: if these songs had been recorded by Cream or Traffic (in its Barleycorn incarnation), they would have sounded better.

I like this album but have always felt it was an overrated asterisk. The opening “Had To Cry Today” lays it on the line; Steve Winwood wrote it, but Jack Bruce should be singing it. Conversely, “Can’t Find My Way Home” would have worked better on Barleycorn with Chris Wood (though Baker does an admirable job of playing the drums on a song that doesn’t require them).

The main pleasure I get from this record is hearing Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood play on music that matters. “Presence of the Lord,” “Sea of Joy,” “Had To Cry Today” and “Can’t Find My Way Home” belong with the best songs of Winwood and Clapton. Of course, Clapton fans will find as much (or more) to get excited about in Derek & The Dominos.

Blind Faith has been reissued about a billion times, usually with the controversial model cover, honored with a Mobile Fidelity remaster, expanded with a couple of post-session recordings (“Exchange and Mart,” “Spending All My Days”) and given a double-disc Deluxe Edition treatment that includes an electric version of “Can’t Find My Way Home,” two versions of Sam Myers’ “Sleeping In The Ground” and a bunch of instrumental jams (most of them recorded before Grech joined) that aren’t likely to increase your faith one iota. Given the dearth of classic Cream and Traffic recordings, you can’t turn a blind eye to Blind Faith, but I’d leave the Deluxe Edition to the deluded and settle on one of the single-disc remasters.

Original LP Version

A1. Had To Cry Today (Steve Winwood) (8:49)
A2. Can’t Find My Way Home (Steve Winwood) (3:17)
A3. Well All Right (Norman Petty/Buddy Holly/Jerry Allison/Joe Mauldin) (4:28)
A4. Presence of the Lord (Eric Clapton) (4:50)
B1. Sea of Joy (Steve Winwood) (5:22)
B2. Do What You Like (Ginger Baker) (15:20)

8-track version
A1. Can’t Find My Way Home
A2. Well All Right
A3. Had To Cry Today (part one)
B1. Had To Cry Today (part two)
B2. Do What You Like (part one)
C1. Do What You Like (part two)
D1. Sea of Joy
D2. Presence of the Lord

CD reissue bonus tracks (#1)
7. Exchange And Mart
8. Spending All My Days

CD reissue bonus tracks #2
7. Sleeping In The Ground
8. Can’t Find My Way Home (Electric Version)

2CD Deluxe Edition reissue
Disc One
1-6. Same as original lp
7. Sleeping In The Ground (Sam Myers) (2:49)
8. Can’t Find My Way Home (Electric Version) (Steve Winwood) (5:40)
9. Acoustic Jam (Steve Winwood/Eric Clapton/Rick Grech/Ginger Baker) (15:50)
10. Time Winds (Steve Winwood) (3:15)
11. Sleeping In The Ground (Slow Blues Version) (Sam Myers) (4:44)

Disc Two
1. Jam No. 1 “Very Long & Good Jam” (Eric Clapton/Steve Winwood/Ginger Baker) (14:01)
2. Jam No. 2 “Slow Jam #1” (Eric Clapton/Steve Wniwood/Ginger Baker) (15:06)
3. Jam No. 3 “Change of Address Jam” (Eric Clapton/Steve Winwood/Ginger Baker) (12:06)
4. Jam No. 4 “Slow Jam #2” (Eric Clapton/Steve Winwood/Ginger Baker) (16:06)

The Players

Ginger Baker (drums, percussion), Eric Clapton (guitar), Rick Grech (bass, violin), Steve Winwood (organ, piano, guitar, bass, lead vocals, bass pedals) with Guy Warner (percussion on Deluxe Editions Jams 1-4). Produced and mixed by Jimmy Miller; mix engineered by Andy Johns; engineered by George Chkiantz, Keith Harwood, Alan O’Duffy.

The Pictures

Original cover photo by Bob Seiderman. Spaceship by Mick Milligan. Censored cover art (Atco #SD 33-304B) by Stanley Miller.

The Plastic

Released on elpee and 8-track in August 1969* in the US (Atco, SD 33-304A/B/M 8304), the UK, Australia and Germany (Polydor, 583 059), Japan (Polydor, MP-1456) and Mexico (Polydor, 220122) with gatefold cover and cover variations. Also re-packaged on edited elpee in 1969 in Germany (Polydor Club-Sonderauflage, 92.208) as That’s Blind Faith without A2. (*First appeared in 8/16/69 issue of Billboard.)

  1. Re-issued on elpee in 1973 in Japan (Polydor, MP-2283).
  2. Re-issued on elpee in 1975 in Japan (RSO, MW-2131).
  3. Re-issued on elpee in 1977 in the US (RSO, RS-1-3016).
  4. Re-issued on elpee in 1979 in Japan (RSO, MWX-4006).
  5. Re-issued on elpee in 1980 in Japan (RSO, MWA-7002)
  6. Re-issued on elpee in the UK (RSO, 2394 142), France (Polydor, 658170), Germany (Karussell, 2499.019) and Germany (Polydor, 184302).
  7. Re-issued on elpee in 1983 in the UK (Polydor, SPELP-14).
  8. Re-released on remastered elpee in 1984 in the US (Mobile Fidelity, MFSL-1-186).
  9. Re-released on remastered compact disc in 1988 in the US (Mobile Fidelity, UDCD-507).
  10. Re-released on remastered compact disc on September 25, 1995 worldwide (Polydor, 825 094).
  11. Re-released on remastered compact disc in 1997 in Japan (Polydor, POCP-9092) and in 1998 in Japan (Polydor, UICY-9168).
  12. Re-released on 180g vinyl elpee in 1999 in the UK (Simply Vinyl, SVLP-104).
  13. Re-released on remastered 2CD Deluxe Edition in 2001 in the US (Polydor, 549 531-2) and Europe (Polydor, 549 529-2) with bonus tracks.
  14. Re-released on remastered compact disc in 2005 in Japan (Universal, UICY-95031).
  15. Re-released on 200g vinyl elpee in 2007 in Japan (Universal, UIJY-9025) and on 180g vinyl elpee in 2008 in France (Universal, 1775316).
  16. Re-released on expanded, remastered compact disc in 2008 in Japan (Universal, UICY-90752); see track listing #2 above for bonus tracks.
  17. Re-released on remastered SHMCD in 2008 in Japan (Universal, UICY-93704).
  18. Re-released on expanded, remastered SHMCD in 2009 in Japan (Universal, UICY-91396); see track listing #1 above for bonus tracks.

1 thought on “[Review] Blind Faith (1969)

  1. One reviewer on Barnes & Noble called this album the precursor to Asia, The Firm, GTR, Audioslave and Velvet Revolver. Of course, Cream were already a supergroup as well, but I think the guy was referring to lesser known ones or ones that don’t exactly have a good name. Such was the case with Asia (ex-members of Yes, King Crimson and Emerson, Lake & Palmer trying to sound like Bruce Springsteen), The Firm (Paul Rodgers and Jimmy Page), GTR (Steve Hackett of Genesis with Steve Howe of Yes), Audioslave (Chris Cornell with the other members of Rage Against the Machine) and Velvet Revolver (Stone Guns Temple n’ Roses Pilots?).

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