Blind Faith – Sea Of Joy

Blind Faith…a supergroup with Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Ric Grech, and Ginger Baker.

I was listening to Blind Faith’s self titled debut album last week while deep in work and this song was one caught my attention. I’ve heard this song before but this time it really hit me. I repeated it a few times for good measure. What a talented band they were and we are lucky to get that album.

Their one and only album, the self titled Blind Faith album, peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Charts, Canada, and the UK in 1969. They toured one time for the album and then soon broke up.

After Cream broke up in late 1968…Blind Faith evolved out of informal jamming at Eric Clapton’s home with Steve Winwood. Winwood suggested adding Ginger Baker to the lineup. Rick Grech joined on bass. The band spent February to June 1969 in the studio jamming and recording.

Clapton didn’t want Baker in the band…he wanted to leave Cream behind but Winwood didn’t know the history until later on.

Steve Winwood: “I had begun to realize what a problem Ginger was, and I saw why Eric had been against having him in the group.” “Ginger did a drum solo and they thought it was Cream, so we chucked in an old Cream song,” Winwood said. “Then I put in a Traffic song, and the identity of the band was killed stone dead. If you have 20,000 people out there, and you know you only have to play one song for them to be on their feet, you do it. We were only human.”

Eric Clapton: Steve and I were at the cottage smoking joints and jamming when we were surprised by a knock at the door,” “It was Ginger. Somehow he had gotten wind of what we were doing and had tracked us down. Ginger’s appearance frightened me because I felt that all of a sudden we were a band, and with that would come the whole [manager Robert] Stigwood machine and the hype that had surrounded Cream.”

Steve Winwood wrote this song and took the lead.

Sea Of Joy

Following the shadows of the skies
Or are they only figments of my eyes?
And I’m feeling close to when the race is run
Waiting in our boats to set sail
Sea of joy

Once the door swings open into space
And I’m already waiting in disguise
Is it just a thorn between my eyes?
Waiting in our boats to set sail
Sea of joy

Having trouble coming through
Through this concrete blocks my view
And it’s all because of you

Oh, is it just a thorn between my eyes?
Waiting in our boats to set sail
Sea of joy

Sea of joy
Sea of joy
Sailing free
Sea of joy

Blind Faith – Presence of the Lord

This is a song that I put some headphones on…get in my recliner and turn it up to 11…hearing loss be damned…and I get lost in the swirling organ and drift away to the sixties. The song is thick and powerful…who needs drugs when you listen to this loud.

Eric Clapton wrote this song, which is a testimony of faith. It’s the first song for which he wrote all the lyrics.

Clapton called this a “song of gratitude.” It was one of his first songs to explore spirituality, which he did on some of his solo tracks in the ’70s. He said the message of this song was to “say ‘thank you’ to God, or whatever you choose to call Him, for whatever happens.”

Their one and only album, the self titled Blind Faith album, peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Charts, Canada, and the UK in 1969. They toured one time for the album and then soon broke up.

From Songfacts

Steve Winwood sang lead, as he did with all of the Blind Faith songs. Even though it’s a very personal song, Clapton made sure he wouldn’t be the lead vocalist by writing it in a higher key than he could sing. He thought Winwood was a much better singer (most would agree), and wanted him on this track.

The song is about how Clapton was becoming more comfortable with his life. He had just left Cream at the peak of its popularity, and was looking forward to playing with Blind Faith. He wasn’t too comfortable though: Clapton was fighting drug addiction and falling in love with George Harrison’s wife, whom he would later marry.

Blind Faith released just one album, and didn’t issue any singles. The album was very successful, going to #1 in both the US and UK, but the band broke up after one difficult tour.

The album cover was a photo of a young girl with no clothes on holding a model spaceship. According to photographer Bob Seidemann, who shot the cover, he had the idea but did not have someone to pose. While riding the London subway, he saw a young girl who would be perfect and asked her to pose for the cover. He went to the girl’s house to ask her parents’ permission to pose topless for the cover. They agreed, but the girl backed out. However, the girl’s younger sister begged the parents to let her pose instead. They agreed and the younger sister ended up posing for the cover. Seidemann called the image “Blind Faith” and Eric Clapton made that the name of the group.

Presence Of The Lord

I have finally found a way to live just like I never could before
I know that I don’t have much to give, but I can open any door
Everybody knows the secret, everybody knows the score
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
I have finally found a way to live in the colour of the Lord

I have finally found a place to live just like I never could before
And I know I don’t have much to give, but soon I’ll open any door
Everybody knows the secret, everybody knows the score

I have finally found a place to live, oh, in the presence of the Lord
In the presence of the Lord

I have finally found a way to live, just like I never could before
And I know I don’t have much to give, but I can open any door
Everybody knows the secret, I said everybody knows the score
I have finally found a way to live in the colour of the Lord
In the colour of the Lord

Blind Faith – Can’t Find My Way Home

Blind Faith was a Supergroup made up of Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Ginger Baker, and Ric Grech. They released just one album… The album peaked at #1 in the Billboard Album Chart, Canada, and the UK in 1969.

It was written by Steve Winwood with acoustic guitar playing by Eric Clapton and percussion by Ginger Baker. Many artists have covered this song but I’ve never heard anyone that can match the original.

Winwood wrote this and sang lead. Many critics thought that Blind Faith sounded a lot more like Traffic than Clapton’s Cream, which is what Clapton was going for.

This song was on the “Blind Faith” album in 1969. Blind Faith was only together for this album, a debut concert in Hyde Park, a Scandinavia and USA tour and then broke up shortly afterwards.

In concert they performed Cream and Traffic songs, which delighted the crowd and annoyed Eric Clapton greatly. These audiences preferred their older material instead of the newer Blind Faith songs.

Clapton began spending more time with opener Delaney Bramlett and less time with his own band, which prompted a 21-year-old Steve Winwood to take a more driving role in the band. Eventually, Clapton left the group following their final show in Hawaii.

This song never gets old to me.

From Songfacts

Clapton played acoustic guitar on this track, which is something he rarely did. In his previous group, Cream, he played long, intense solos, something he wanted to get away from with Blind Faith.

The album was released in the UK with a cover photo of an 11-year-old girl named Mariora Goschen. The cover photo because as famous as the album itself, since it showed Goschen naked and holding a model spaceship (a different cover with a band photo was used in the US and for stores that wanted an alternative in the UK).

Bob Seidemann came up with the concept and took the photo, which represents humankind’s relationship with technology (this was when the mission to put a man on the moon was big news). The band wasn’t yet named, and when Seidemann took the photo, he called it “Blind Faith.” Clapton decided that should be the name of the band.

Clapton sometimes plays this at his concerts, with a member of his band singing. His bass player Nathan East would often sing it.

A common misconception is that Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood reunited at the Crossroads Guitar Festival, July 28, 2007, however, the first true live reunion occurred two months earlier at an event called Countryside Rocks at Highclere Castle, Hampshire, UK on May 19, 2007. Steve Winwood performed his set and Eric came on later as a guest. Together they played this song as well as “Watch Your Step,” “Presence of the Lord,” “Crossroads,” “Little Queen Of Spades,” “Had to Cry Today” and “Gimme Some Lovin’.”

The band House of Lords covered this on their 1990 album Sahara. Other artists to record it include Joe Cocker, Yvonne Elliman, Gilberto Gil and Widespread Panic.

Can’t Find My Way Home

Come down off your throne and leave your body alone
Somebody must change
You are the reason I’ve been waiting all these years
Somebody holds the key

Well, I’m near the end and I just ain’t got the time
And I’m wasted and I can’t find my way home

I can’t find my way home
But I can’t find my way home
But I can’t find my way home
But I can’t find my way home
Still I can’t find my way home

And I’ve done nothing wrong
But I can’t find my way home

Cream – White Room

Ginger Baker passed away Sunday, October 6th… Ginger was one of the best drummers in rock history.

Paul McCartney: Ginger Baker, great drummer, wild and lovely guy. We worked together on the ‘Band on the Run’ album in his ARC Studio, Lagos, Nigeria. Sad to hear that he died but the memories never will. X Paul

Mick Jagger: Sad news hearing that Ginger Baker has died, I remember playing with him very early on in Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated. He was a fiery but extremely talented and innovative drummer.

John Densmore: A drumming force of nature, Ginger Baker has broke on through. Emblematic of his influence, I put 2 bars of his reverse-beat in “Hello, I Love You.” 

Pete Brown wrote the lyrics and Jack Bruce wrote the music to White Room. He was inspired by a cycling tour that he took in France. The “white room” was a literal place: a room in an apartment where Pete Brown was living. It was not, as some suspected, an institution.

The music was written first. Pete Brown’s first attempt at a lyric was something about a doomed hippie girl – the song was called “Cinderella’s Last Goodnight.” Jack Bruce didn’t like it, so he scrapped that idea and pulled up an eight-page poem he had written earlier, which he reworked into White Room.

Pete Brown: “It was a miracle it worked, considering it was me writing a monologue about a new flat.”

The song peaked at #6 in the Billboard 100 in 1968.

Cream in the 1970s… Pattie Boyd took the photo.

From Songfacts

This song is about depression and hopelessness, but the setting is an empty apartment. The lyrics were written by a poet named Pete Brown, who was a friend of Cream bass player Jack Bruce, the lead vocalist on the track. Brown also wrote the words for “Sunshine Of Your Love,” “I Feel Free” and “SWLABR.”

In a Songfacts interview with Pete Brown, he told the story: “It was a meandering thing about a relationship that I was in and how I was at the time. It was a kind of watershed period really. It was a time before I stopped being a relative barman and became a songwriter, because I was a professional poet, you know. I was doing poetry readings and making a living from that. It wasn’t a very good living, and then I got asked to work by Ginger and Jack with them and then started to make a kind of living.

And there was this kind of transitional period where I lived in this actual white room and was trying to come to terms with various things that were going on. It’s a place where I stopped, I gave up all drugs and alcohol at that time in 1967 as a result of being in the white room, so it was a kind of watershed period. That song’s like a kind of weird little movie: it changes perspectives all the time. That’s why it’s probably lasted – it’s got a kind of mystery to it.”

Upon its release, Wheels Of Fire was given a terrible review by Rolling Stone magazine. They claim that “White Room” has “The exact same lines for guitar, bass and drums” as “Tales Of Brave Ulysses.” If you listen to both songs, they are somewhat similar, but nowhere near the level they claim. 

Eric Clapton used a wah-wah pedal on his guitar. He got the idea from Jimi Hendrix.

Clapton’s solo earned the #2 spot on Guitar World’s greatest wah solos of all time in 2015. The #1 spot? Hendrix’ “Voodoo Child (Slight Return).”

Why are the starlings tired? Because the pollution in London was killing them. Pete Brown also told us: “The ‘tired starlings’ is also a little bit of a metaphor for the feminine in a way, as well. It was women having to put up with rather a lot – too much pressure on them at the time.”

More lyric interpretation courtesy of Pete Brown:

“Goodbye Windows” – “Just people waving goodbye from train windows.”

“Black-roof Country” – “That was the kind of area that I lived in. There were still steam trains at one point around that area, so the roofs were black. It was black and sooty. It’s got that kind of a feel to it.”

On their last tour before the band broke up, Cream opened most of their shows with this song. When Cream did a reunion tour in 2005, they played it near the end of the sets.

Clapton refused to play this after leaving Cream until 1985, when Paul Shaffer urged him to play it while he was sitting in with the band on Late Night With David Letterman. That same year, Clapton played it at Live Aid.

This was released as a single after Cream had broken up. It did better in the US than in England, since Cream had caught on in the States.

In 2000, Apple Computer used this in commercials for their white iMacs. While the song does have the word “white” in the title, the subject matter is not good for selling computers.

Jack Bruce recorded a new, Latin-influenced version on his 2001 album Shadows In The Air. Clapton played on this as well as his new recording of “Sunshine Of Your Love.”

Clapton performed this in 1999 for the album Sheryl Crow and Friends: Live From Central Park. Clapton and Crow were an item for a time in the ’90s.

White Room

In the white room with black curtains near the station
Black roof country, no gold pavements, tired starlings
Silver horses ran down moonbeams in your dark eyes
Dawnlight smiles on you leaving, my contentment

I’ll wait in this place where the sun never shines
Wait in this place where the shadows run from themselves

You said no strings could secure you at the station
Platform ticket, restless diesels, goodbye windows
I walked into such a sad time at the station
As I walked out, felt my own need just beginning

I’ll wait in the queue when the trains come back
Lie with you where the shadows run from themselves

At the party she was kindness in the hard crowd
Consolation for the old wound now forgotten
Yellow tigers crouched in jungles in her dark eyes
She’s just dressing, goodbye windows, tired starlings

I’ll sleep in this place with the lonely crowd
Lie in the dark where the shadows run from themselves

My Favorite Drummers

This is my top ten favorite drummers…I’m sure I’m going to leave some great ones out. Like guitarists, I like drummers with feel more than technique. Anyone who has read this blog knows who my number 1 is without question…

1…Keith Moon, The Who – It’s hard if not impossible to copy this man’s drumming style. He changed the Who completely and was their engine. I’m not a drummer so I really never cared like some drummers do if he played by the rules in drumming…Was he disciplined? No, but it worked well for him and for the songs. Songs like Bargain and Goin’ Mobile are great examples of Keith.

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2…John Bonham, Led Zeppelin – Without Bonham, there is no Led Zeppelin as we know them. He was the ultimate groove drummer. He was a bricklayer and had hard hands and hit the drums incredibly hard but with a light touch also.

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3…Levon Helm, The Band – Not only was he a great drummer but also a soulful singer. He brought something many drummers didn’t… a bit of the old south.

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4…Charlie Watts, Rolling Stones – Charlie and Ringo made their respective groups swing. Charlie can play blues, rock, big band, and jazz. Charlie and his rhythm section partner Bill Wyman were overlooked being in the same band with Mick and Keith. On top of his drumming skills…Charlie grounds the band much like Ringo did for the Beatles.

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5…Ringo Starr, The Beatles – He was not Moon or Bonham in flash but he played exactly what was needed…He could have gone overboard and the songs would have suffered. He played for the song. Some have called him the human metronome. I cannot imagine any other drummer for The Beatles. His tom tom work on Sgt Pepper alone is excellent.

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6…Mitch Mitchell, Jimi Hendrix Experience – Any holes left in Jimi’s music would be quickly filled in by Mitch. He was a jazz drummer who fused it into rock.

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7…Ginger Baker, Cream – If this was a list of “likable people” Ginger would not be in the top 1000 but his drumming was some of the best of the sixties and I’m sure he would say “ever”… He was as big of part of Cream’s sound as Clapton or Bruce.

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8…Bobby Elliot, Hollies – Drummer from the Hollies that other drummers have admired. He hit the drums hard and his fills were great… He is often overlooked but he is always spot on.

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9…Dave Grohl, Foo Fighters, Nirvana – He can play anything… He fuels those Nirvana songs…and is really great at whatever instrument he plays.

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10…Clem Burke, Blondie – An exciting drummer that was heavily influenced by number 1 on this list. He has played with Pete Townshend, Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop, and David Bowie.

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Honorable Mention

Gene Krupa, Buddy Miles, Mick Fleetwood, Max Weinberg, “D.J.” Fontana, Benny Benjamin, Stewart Copeland, and Hal Blaine.

Yes, I know… No Neil Peart…yes he is a great drummer…just not my style of music.

 

 

 

Cream – Anyone For Tennis

I had just graduated and I had heard a lot of Cream before but it was a spring day and I had a new cassette of them in my car…I heard this song with the windows down and at first, I thought…no this can’t be Cream. It grew on me and I love the song. I like when a band does something different. After blitzing audiences with Crossroads, Whiteroom, Sunshine of Your Love, and Strange Brew…out comes this song. It’s not my favorite Cream song…that would be Badge but this one always makes me smile.

The song was written by Eric Clapton and Martin Sharp for the movie “Savage Seven.” It reached #64 on the Billboard Charts in America in 1968.

Unfortunately, this was nearing the end of Cream’s run.

Cream appeared on the Smothers Brothers and mimed this song. Who the hell knows what it means but when I heard “And the elephants are dancing on the graves of squealing mice. Anyone for tennis, wouldn’t that be nice?” I was hooked. It’s hard to get it out of your head once you listen to it.

Twice upon a time in the valley of the tears
The auctioneer is bidding for a box of fading years
And the elephants are dancing on the graves of squealing mice.
Anyone for tennis, wouldn’t that be nice?

And the ice creams are all melting on the streets of bloody beer
While the beggars stain the pavements with fluorescent Christmas cheer
And the Bentley driving guru is putting up his price.
Anyone for tennis, wouldn’t that be nice?

And the prophets in the boutiques give out messages of hope
With jingle bells and fairy tales and blind colliding scopes
And you can tell they’re all the same underneath the pretty lies.
Anyone for tennis, wouldn’t that be nice?

The yellow Buddhist monk is burning brightly at the zoo
You can bring a bowl of rice and then a glass of water too
And fate is setting up the chessboard while death rolls out the dice.
Anyone for tennis, wouldn’t that be nice?