Stuck, Ch. 17: Lost: Blind Faith, “Sea of Joy”

by Akim Reinhardt

Stuck is a weekly serial appearing at 3QD every Monday through early April. The Prologue is here. The table of contents with links to previous chapters is here.

Image result for vast oceanThere should be more.

This song has been with me, quite thoroughly, for two weeks now. There should be more to talk about. Such as Blind Faith, rock n roll’s first super group, cobbled together from members of Cream (guitarist Eric Clapton, drummer Ginger Baker), Traffic (singer/keyboardist Steve Winwood), and Family (bassist Ric Grech). How they sparkled brightly and burned out after just one album and tour. Or Winwood specifically, author and singer of this particular song. A child prodigy of pop, he joined the Spencer Davis Group when he was only 14 years old, soon penning and singing two hit singles: “Gimme Some Lovin’” (later covered by the Blues Brothers) and “I’m a Man” (later covered by Chicago). Or I could talk about the song itself. Over five minutes long, it is at turns coarse and lush, rigid and ethereal, intense and contemplative and euphoric. Or perhaps I could share something about who I am. Stories about being on the water, relatively few in number, yet still rich in moments of bonding with family and friends, of self-definition, of living without time, of killing with rods and hooks.

But instead, all I have is this one lyric.

Waiting in our boats to set sail

Days upon days of obsession hang upon this short, taut thread. Guitars, organ, drums, bass, vocals spinning round those seven words. One small dot, dark and unmoving amid the raging, whirring maelstrom of all things, demanding my senses heed and bend to it.

Waiting in our boats to set sail

The quiet anguish of gently rocking between blue skies and placid water for want of summer wind. The holy promise, too great to speak aloud, of sailing into all that is vast and open and free, already so complete and perfectly oblivious to my bow, should it ever come to slice through air and wave. Read more »

Stuck, Ch. 4. Outta Sight: Leon Russell, “Delta Lady”

Stuck is a weekly serial appearing at 3QD every Monday through early April. A Prologue can be found here. A table of contents with links to previous chapters can be found here.

by Akim Reinhardt

Leon Russell, The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, (2012.201.B1116.0281, Oklahoma Publishing Company Photography Collection, OHS)He released 33 albums and recorded over 400 of songs, earning two Grammys among seven nominations. Yet you probably don’t know who Leon Russell was. For some people he’s a vaguely familiar name they have trouble putting a face or a tune to. Many more have never even heard of him. Because despite his prodigious output, Russell also had a way of being there without letting you know. He was the front man whose real impact came behind the scenes. He was very present, but just out of sight.

In addition to recording his own music, Leon Russell was a prolific session musician who worked with hundreds of artists over six decades. His main instrument was piano, but he played everything from guitar to xylophone. Russell was also was a songwriter who contributed to other musicians’ oeuvres. His song “This Masquerade” has been recorded by over 75 artists. “A Song For You” has been recorded by over 200. Finally, he was a record producer, a mastermind behind the glass and in front of the mixing board who oversaw and orchestrated, literally and metaphorically, the artistry of others. Read more »