Origins of the Blind Faith Legacy

(Photo Copyright 1969 by Ron Raffaelli, All Rights Reserved)

It all began in the winter months of 1969, when Eric Clapton and Stevie Winwood were spending time together. They were both on sabbatical from their most recent commitments, and were just taking it easy, trying to decide what was feasible in a collaboration of their musical talents. Leisurely hanging out together much of the time at Clapton's newly purchased home, the country estate of Hurtwood Edge, they spent endless hours jamming and sharing ideas during the wintery weeks of early 1969. What exactly took place is very sketchy, yet we do have glimpses of what occurred from several biographies of Clapton and Winwood.

It was rumored in the British music press that EC and SW would record an album with Stax's regal rhythm section of Donald "Duck" Dunn and Al Jackson (both of Booker T & the MGs). Forming a mallable soul/blues based group was a dream that Winwood desired, but that was not to be. Informal sessions continued at Clapton's home, and several musicians joined with them during January and February. When Ginger Baker learned of the scene Clapton and Winwood were doing, he responded by wanting to participate. Well, things like this happen, particularly when friendships are involved, and when Baker got into the scene, things began to click. Winwood found Ginger's drumming to be fantastic, even though the drummer was said to be perpetually stoned on mind-altering substances. When Winwood suggest (and Baker pleaded) that they form a trio, Clapton was unable to decline - The impromptu music they were creating was just too intriguing for them to cease! This is when the real beginnings of BF came together. Next, the boys, under the joint management of Chris Blackwell and Robert Stigwood, reserved some recording time at the Morgan Studios in London. This is where the famously obscure Morgan Rehearsals were made. Several sessions were performed and recorded during February and March 1969. And the embryonic forms of several Blind Faith classics were molded during that time; If one listens closely to the rehearsal tracks on the available bootlegg recordings, traces of "Well All Right", "Do What You Like", and "Change Of Address" can be detected in the recorded span.

By April 1969, the trio were seriously debating whether to have a bass guitar player joining them. Speculation on having Winwood provide the bass beat from his Hammond keyboards, or have Winwood selectively play bass guitar were explored, but with lead vocal responsibilities, included, it was presumed that another guitarist was essential to the new sound being developed. Of course, the boys were out and about during this period of time, partying and jamming at clubs around London, talking about their project. Evidently, in one or more of those out-of-the-studio leisure times, Clapton was hanging out with The Family's Ric Grech, also sharing impromptu gigging at the Speakeasy Pub in central London. Within a month, Grech was beginning to hang out with together with Baker, Clapton, and Winwood, feeling around for the chemistry between them while doing the musical thing. Indeed, the chemistry was there! And as Clapton remarked back then, "It just sort of happened, we didn't even invite Ric into the group, he (Ric) just became one of us....... .". And so they began to seriously begin working on the music that became the BF album. Much of the preliminary preparations between the foursome were conducted once again at Clapton's estate home, and that's where many of the famous photo of the boys together with their musical instruments originate. Next, Stigwood coaxed the boys to get into the Olympic Studios in London, to begin cutting tracks for the very likely album that would be produced, and pressured them to get with the idea of a "Super-Group" performance tour, possibly world-wide. This is when the rumblings began - Baker and Grech saw the potential of the business side of the venture, but Clapton clearly recognized the perils of superstardom, commercial hype, the grind of touring. He and Winwood saw things similarly. Clapton casually dubbed the group "Blind Faith", likely for the way they were all falling into Stigwood's vison of how great the group would be worshipped by impressionable youth and the millions in money that would be reaped from a hit album and awesomely promoted group of fantastic musicians collaborating at the peak of the counter-culture movement in Europe and North America.

Brief narratives and other tidbits will follow soon.........

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Updated 31 March 2003

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