Guest Blogger Steve Oksienik: Blind Faith – Blind Faith

27 Apr

There are legends on the dark underbelly of the internet.  Individuals who intrigue and appall in equal measure with their levels of wit and inappropriateness.  Stormseeker75 is just such an creature, and I was thrilled to discover that his awesomely unsavory wit translates wonderfully to meat life . . .

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I remember my first concert very vividly.

I was 8 years old and living in rural New Jersey.  My dad came home, told me we were going to a concert, threw me into the car and off we went.

We met our barber who happened to be a friend of my dad’s at the gate for the show and snuck right in next to a security guard who my dad’s friend knew.  The sheer number of people boggled my mind.  I was a small human being, but I have never felt so small in my entire life.

And I remember certain smells which I’m sure you can figure out.  What I remember most of all was the music.

Warren Zevon started the night with a solo piano set and I mesmerized.  After his set, the main act started and Steve Winwood took the stage.  The drums and bass kicked in with guitars and keyboards and suddenly a young boy’s life had a very deep connection to the world.

Blind Faith was a phenomenon unlike anything else at the time.  The group was instantly popular just by virtue of the names in the band.  Hype surrounded them from day one and as such their debut album sold phenomenally well, going gold in the first month of it’s release.  It’s still widely regarded as a classic and has joined some elite company as one of the greatest classic rock albums of all time.

The album starts off with an incredibly tasty lick from Clapton as “Had To Cry Today” comes in.  This song gives you a good idea of what you’re in for because although it’s got phenomenal guitar work, it’s a bit long and meandering at the end.

“Can’t Find My Way Home” follows up with a nice juxtaposition in tone with acoustic guitars and Winwood’s pseudo-falsetto vocals creating a soothing sort of atmosphere.  I’m no fan of Ginger Baker, but his work on this song is perfect.

“Well Alright” features Winwood’s best vocal work on the album.  He’s right in his perfect range and sounds both effortless and powerful.  This is followed up by an equally fantastic performance on “In the Presence of The Lord”, a more bluesy soulful song than others on the album.  The transition from slower hymnal speed to faster bridge and back is masterful and creates great texture to the song.

“Sea of Joy” sounds a lot like a Cream song from the intro and then transitions into a much more Traffic-y sort of tone.  As good as Winwood is on the songs before, he’s terrible here.  There’s a few places where he’s trying to hit notes that he should just stay away from and it really detracts from the entire song for me.

As strong as the album starts off, it finishes with a whimper with the overly long and drawn-out “Do What You Like”.  The meandering ending to “Had To Cry Today” is nothing compared to this mess of a song.  It’s almost like they had 5 songs and said “Well, we need to fill 15 minutes….what should we do?”

The answer was an overwrought jam designed to fill up an album side.  If they could have contained this to even 8 minutes it would have been better.

This album’s accolades are definitely based in some musical proof.  There are a few outstanding tracks here.  Out of 6, 3 are fantastic, 1 is solid, 1 is alright, and 1 is mostly a waste of time.

And in some ways, that sums up exactly what Blind Faith turned out to be.

It didn’t matter what these guys did at the time because people were going to buy it anyway.  The recording session was hurried and it shows.  The pressure on these guys to tour and release an album stunted what could have been mind-blowing.  Due to the talent on the project, it still ended up being awesome despite the limitations of the process.

Unfortunately, Blind Faith never made it to a second album.  It would have been interesting to see where this band went.  Would they have gone more jazzy like Traffic or more blues/R&B like Derek and the Dominoes?  Either way, you can see the legacy this band has left and the influence they had on the music industry.

My mom is still mad I went to that concert.

Apparently, my dad was supposed to take her but she couldn’t get a babysitter for my sisters.  Mom, trust me when I tell you that was one of the best things you ever did for me.  My life would be far less meaningful without music fueling my soul.

So thanks, Mom, Dad, Dave, random security guard, Warren Zevon, and Steve Winwood.

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Steve Oksienik is a blogger and podcaster for Cardboard Insanity and also for Off The Beaten Tracks.  When he’s not writing or podcasting, he is an avid yoga instructor, boardgamer, and wrestling fan.

Steve’s passion for music is deep and he loves talking about it as much as he likes listening. 

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