Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker, Steve Winwood, Rick Grech
BLIND FAITH PHOTO COLLECTION
(Click on photos in gallery below to view larger version with instructions for ordering)
Phoenix Memorial Coliseum – 8/23/69
Appeared with Delaney & Bonnie with Friends
BLIND FAITH – Formed 1969, London, England. Steve Winwood (b. May 12 1948, Birmingham, England), keyboards, guitar, vocals; Eric Clapton (b. Mar. 30, 1945, Ripley, England), guitar, vocals; Ginger Baker (b. Aug. 19, 1939, Lewisham, England), drums; Rick Grech (b. Nov. 1, 1946, Bordeaux, France), bass, violin.
The beginnings of Blind Faith date from mid-1968, with the break-up of Cream. In retrospect as the first “super-group,” Cream had become a financial powerhouse, selling millions of records within a few years and raising the group’s (and each member’s) repertoire to international popularity. Despite that success, the band was crumbling from within because of frequent animosity between Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker, with Eric Clapton doing his best to mediate. In addition, Clapton had tired of playing commercially driven blues and hoped to move forward with a new, experimental, less straitjacketed approach to the genre.
Steve Winwood was facing similar problems in The Spencer Davis Group, where he had been the lead singer for three years. Winwood wanted to experiment with the band’s sound by infusing jazz elements, but left due to his musical differences, instead forming a new band — Traffic — in 1967. That band split temporarily in 1969, and Winwood started to jam with his good friend Clapton in Clapton’s basement in Surrey, England. Winwood and Clapton had previously collaborated on the “Powerhouse” project.
Clapton was pleased with the jam sessions, but was hesitant to start a serious group. Ginger Baker turned up one day to sit in with them in 1969, and the band took near-final form. Clapton questioned letting Baker in the band, because he had promised Jack Bruce that, if they were to work with one another again, all three of them would play. Moreover, Clapton didn’t want to reunite with Cream barely nine weeks after the break-up, and also didn’t want to deal with another “Cream-like” super-stardom situation. Winwood ultimately persuaded Clapton to finalize Baker’s inclusion in the line-up, arguing that Ginger Baker strengthened their musicianship and that it would be hard to find an equally talented drummer.
By May 1969, Ric Grech, bassist with Family, was invited to join them (leaving Family, mid-tour). Andy Johns (engineer) recorded most of the Blind Faith backing tracks at Morgan Studios and the album was finished at Olympic studios with Alan O’Duffy (engineer) who recorded some further tracks, all of the overdubs and mixed the album. This was done under the supervision of producer Jimmy Miller. Jimmy Miller provided focus to the band, who often preferred jamming over the standard commercial 3–5 minute track. By then the group was known collectively as Blind Faith, a slyly cynical reference by Clapton to his outlook on the new group.
BLIND FAITH – Discography
1969 – Blind Faith (ATCO)
Blind Faith – Had To Cry Today – 1969
BLIND FAITH LINKS
Sorry for my curiosity but did you know if also English Rock Band FREE (Andy Fraser, Paul Rodgers, Paul Kossoff, Simon Kirke) were on the bill during this gig 23 August 1969 ? Thanks for your recollections
Thanks for the query. We have no record of Free performing that evening with Blind Faith. The Free website (https://freebandofficial.com/tour-bus/) does not list a concert for them that day. According to the Concert Archives site (https://www.concertarchives.org/bands/free?year=1969) Free did appear on the bill in previous concerts. We will look through doug’s photo to see if we can identify any of Free’s members.