Wednesday, January 6, 2016

"Blind Faith"

Blind Faith:  “Blind Faith”
Secondhand Vinyl Album
Original Release Date:  1969 Atco Records
(My Rating:  5 Stars)

Side One
Had To Cry Today
Can’t Find My Way Home
Well All Right
Presence Of The Lord

Side Two
Sea Of Joy
Do What You Like

   Upon finding this record at one of my favorite secondhand music shops, I was delighted to see the name of the previous owner written in perfect cursive on the back of the album cover.  There it was in the upper right hand corner in pristine script, albeit faded over time.  Susan Jordan it said, and at that moment I knew Susan and I should have been friends.
   To expand, I have a strange proclivity for collecting items that have been previously owned.  I love the idea that I’ve found a treasure that not only someone else valued, but also helped shape their history.  I imagine that an item embodies the story of its’ previous owner, whether it be a vintage paisley skirt or a Blind Faith album.  Lucky for this blogger, I generally create a pretty entertaining story for each of my secondhand finds.  This being stated I’m certain that, Susan Jordan, the previous owner of my, “new,” Blind Faith album must be dead.  I know that you’re thinking, “You say that about everything that you thrift.”  I admit this statement is true.  However, never have I felt more vehemently certain than when I first heard Susan’s record, because nobody living would give this treasure away.
   The album, “Blind Faith,” opens with the song, “Had To Cry Today.”  From the beginning, I realized this music was serious Rock & Roll and required a loud volume.  Let me repeat, the first song on, “Blind Faith,” needs…no… deserves, to be played LOUD.  Immediately, a listener realizes the type of musical miracle that is happening between these future rock icons.  Clapton’s repetitive guitar riffs combined with Winwood’s soaring vocals create an almost mantra feel, transforming this song into something like a prayer.  It’s this bloggers opinion that during a song like, “Had To Cry Today,” it’s simply not important what the actual lyrics are.  It’s merely the sounds that matter.  By the time a listener gets to the, darn near holy, guitar solo they find themselves already converted to the cult of Clapton.  In eight short minutes the song is over and this blogger couldn’t help but long for another cup of Blind Faith’s Kool-Aid.
   Thankfully this is served through the beautiful juxtaposition of the following song, “Can’t Find My Way Home.”  This particular piece shows a complexity of lyrics that the first song crushes by pure power.  During, “Can’t Find My Way Home,” Steve Winwood proves his voice to be as compelling as Clapton’s guitar playing.  The difference is Winwood inspires empathy, whereas Clapton’s playing on, “Had To Cry Today,” is pure aggression.  Let me point out the staggering fact that this range of emotion is felt by a listener all within the matter of the first two songs!
   Later on the album, Winwood’s uncanny capacity to evoke emotion is again demonstrated by the song, “Sea Of Joy.”  I have to say that it’s this song in particular that I believe best showcases Steve Winwood’s incredible vocal abilities.  Is it because his vocal performance is perfect?  To answer that question simply, “No.”  It’s because of the absolute urgency one can hear in his voice while singing the lyrics.  While singing, “Sea Of Joy,” Winwood sounds honest.  His voice reaches octaves, uncomfortable for most, causing it to be unpredictable and almost needy.  Mostly, it sounds human, amongst songs that are so damn good they seem anything but. 
   Of course, one can’t review the album, “Blind Faith,” without addressing the song, “Do What You Like,” a piece of music that lasts fifteen minutes long and is about as abstract as the aforementioned topic of religion.   Despite its’ rather trying length, I believe this song to be a perfect example of the decade it was recorded.  In this blogger’s opinion, the drawn out, jam session solos performed here are not only a testament to the abilities of the band, Blind Faith, but also to the culture of the 1960s.  I found it incredibly hard not to imagine a young Ms. Susan Jordan, circa 1969, sitting on an Indian carpet, while burning incense, and listening to, “Do What You Like.”  Maybe that’s because Ms. Rayna Hallman, circa 2016, was doing that very thing.
   Lastly, my absolute favorite song on the record, “Blind Faith,” is, “Presence Of The Lord.”  Oddly enough, it’s the only piece on the album written by Eric Clapton.  I find this song to be not only painfully beautiful, but equally inspiring.  “Presence Of The Lord,” continually leaves this listener pondering what her lord is.  The only conclusion I seem to come to is, I feel closer to my version while listening to Clapton’s passionate playing.  This song proves that nirvana can be found in the most unexpected places.  (Such as, a used record store)  Now in the year 2016, I sit listening to Blind Faith by candlelight and hope that the possibly deceased Susan Jordan has, “finally found a place to live, in the presence of her Lord.”    


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  2. I've got to quickly acquire this album, which I should have acquired back in 1969 when I needed as much faith as possible. Music is transcendent!

  3. One of my favorite albums. It came out in two different controversial covers: the one you have with Ginger Baker sporting an erection and the other one with an arguably underage topless girl holding a toy airplane. I also recommend Traffic's John Barleycorn.

    1. i will check that out. the Traffic album, that is.

    2. i will check that out. the Traffic album, that is.