Music Monday: May 9, 2022

Hi, everyone. Welcome to this week’s edition of Music Monday.

Music Monday

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Today’s song is another one of those tracks that left an indelible mark on my soul. It is classic rock at its finest, a tune so exquisite it is as close to perfection as I have ever found. The songwriter and singer of this paragon celebrates birthday number 74 this week.

Steve Winwood was born May 12, 1948 in Birmingham, UK. His father was also a musician who schooled his son so well that the younger Winwood was in a band by age 14, The Spencer Davis Group. Next came his tenure with Traffic where he gave us gems like “Empty Pages”, “The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys” & “Dear Mr. Fantasy”. In 1969 he joined forces with future Traffic bassist Rick Grech and musical powerhouses Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton to form Blind Faith. And it is from this supergroup that we arrive at today’s pick.

It is a captivating performance by all involved, from Grech’s masterful bass line to Baker’s elaborate percussion to Clapton’s stunning acoustic guitar work to Winwood’s soulful vocal delivery of his moving, lonely & succinct lyrics. When I featured this track on Day 74 of my daily music posts during lockdown, I called it “a prayer for all of us who are lost that we may find our way home to wherever and whatever that is”. And I stand by that sentiment. I find this song so beautiful it hurts, the way a magnificent work of art should make you feel. And this is art at its very best.

So, happy birthday, Steve Winwood. Thank you so much for all your exceptional music but for today’s track most of all.

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
“.

Blind Faith

Blind Faith circa 1969 L-R:  Steve Winwood, Rick Grech, Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Blind Faith: “Can’t Find My Way Home” (1969, written by Stevie Winwood).

Stay safe & well.

Let’s Take A Moment Day 188

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Jane Austen Music Quote

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

On this day in 1969 the only album by the rock band, Blind Faith, hit #1 on the Billboard 200 chart a mere six weeks after it was released. The exemplary songs & music had a lot to do with that success, of course. But so did the fact that they were the first known “supergroup” as three of the four members had recently left their other successful bands (Ginger Baker & Eric Clapton from Cream & Steve Winwood from Traffic. Bassist Rich Grech would join Traffic with Winwood when they reformed in 1970).

The band came together when Clapton started jamming with Winwood at his house in early 1969. According to Clapton’s 2007 autobiography, Baker found out they were playing together and showed up one day to join them. Clapton admitted he was not initially happy with Baker’s arrival given how his temper came between him & Jack Bruce during their time together in Cream. But the new band developed with songs by Winwood & Clapton, a cover of a Buddy Holly tune (“Well All Right”) and Grech coming on board as the group’s bassist.

Clapton further asserted that despite the group recording an album together and eventually playing several shows, his heart was not in it to take control of the band and help give it direction, despite the others looking towards him to do so. He even refused to sing lead vocals on any songs, letting Winwood handle that task alone as the other two members did not sing. Clapton cited an ongoing problem he had throughout his life where as soon as he was in one place he longed to be in another. At that point in time he had become enamoured with the music of Delaney & Bonnie and Friends who were opening for the supergroup on the road. Clapton sat in with them on several occasions, even co-writing and recording songs with them. It was through that collaboration that Clapton would meet his three future band members of Derek & The Dominos. So as much as I wish Blind Faith stayed together past 1969, if they had, we would not have the “Layla” record. And what a tragedy that would have been.

Clapton and Winwood have played together many times over the years at various shows performing a few of Blind Faith’s songs including “Can’t Find My Way Home” and today’s pick. Clapton said he wrote it when he finally bought a place of his own in 1968, after five years of living in hotels and at other people’s homes. He had also started turning towards Christianity which led to his reference of spirituality. I love Winwood’s vocal on this track, but it is Clapton’s guitar playing, especially his solo, that puts it over the top for me.

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
“.

"Blind Faith" Portrait

Blind Faith circa 1969 L-R:  Steve Winwood, Ric Grech, Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton.  Photo by Bob Seidemann. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images) (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Blind Faith:  “Presence Of The Lord” (1969, written by Eric Clapton).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you. 

Stay well.  

 

Let’s Take A Moment Day 74

Hi everyone.  Hope you are all well and continue to stay that way during this global health crisis we are facing.  But in addition to protecting your physical wellness, what are you doing to stay mentally healthy today?

Peanuts music

(Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

I know we are in a serious situation, but I need a break from the gloom, doom and bullying by way of hoarding. Music has always been my refuge and watching those beautiful Italians singing to each other from their balconies reaffirmed my belief that music is the answer. So until the old normal returns, I am going to share a song I listen to that helps me escape the current state of things, if only for a few minutes each day.  And if this helps anyone else, even better.

When Steve Winwood released his 1986 album, “Back In The High Life”, he won a whole new audience thanks to his visibility on MTV.  The record’s first single, “Higher Love”, went to the top of the charts.  I for one was already a fan of this unbelievably talented man.  I discovered him thanks to FM radio where songs from his first three bands were in constant rotation:  “Gimme Some Lovin” from The Spencer Davis Group (a band he joined when he was only 14 years old); “Dear Mr. Fantasy” & “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” with Traffic and then Blind Faith which teamed him up with powerhouses Eric Clapton on guitar and Ginger Baker on percussion.  I also adored two of Winwood’s previous solo albums, “Arc Of A Diver” (with that fabulous title track and his first solo hit, “While You See A Chance”) and “Talking Back To The Night”.

Winwood was first introduced to music from his father, a semi-professional musician in his own right.  And a few years ago, Winwood’s very gifted daughter, Lilly, reworked “Higher Love” into a beautiful ballad that her father joined her on which was used in a really touching Hershey’s commercial.  Winwood is probably one of the earliest singers to incorporate blue-eyed soul into his music, which was a cross between rock, soul, R&B, jazz and pop.  I am a huge fan of his and really enjoy his music, but I am madly in love with today’s song.  It is profound and beautiful in so many ways. It’s a prayer for all of us who are lost that we may find our way home to wherever and whatever that is.

And I ain’t done nothing wrong but I can’t find my way home“.

If Clapton is god, then Winwood is lord and saviour.

Blind_Faith_(1969)

Blind Faith circa 1969 L-R:  Steve Winwood, Ric Grech, Ginger Baker and Eric Clapton.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Steve Winwood

 Steve Winwood circa 1986.  (Image found online.  Original source unknown.)

Blind Faith:  “Can’t Find My Way Home” (1969, written by Stevie Winwood).

I do not own the rights to anything.  I am just sharing what I love and how I am coping with you.

Stay well.