One Song/Three Versions – Can’t Find My Way Home

Come down off your throne and leave your body alone.
Somebody must change.
You are the reason I’ve been waiting so long.
Somebody holds the key.

But 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.

Rock supergroup Cream having recently broken up (1968), Eric Clapton found himself at a loss as to what to do next. He had tired of the long, free-form blues jam that he had done so much to popularize. At the same time, his mate Steve Winwood had just left the Spencer Davis Group.

And so, throwing caution to the wind, they decided to form yet another supergroup called Blind Faith. Clapton managed to get drummer Ginger Baker from Cream and bassist Ric Grech. Grech was with a group called Family and both Clapton and Winwood knew his fine work from previous groups. (Jack Bruce would not have worked out if only because he and Baker did not like each other. Ever.)

Blind Faith did not last very long, collapsing I think under the weight of expectations. But their song “Can’t Find My Way Home,” has become a classic recorded by just about everybody. I was reading a debate on a forum about whether this song was truly about being wasted on drugs or about “home” having a religious connotation. Winwood, who wrote it, is mum on this. There is a song called “Presence of the Lord” on the album. Regardless, I vote for the former. Your call.

NOTE: I usually like a little bit of radical reinvention when I do the One Song/Three Versions posts. But it was really hard to find that on this one. Pretty much everybody sticks to the song’s blueprint. So I instead decided to go with different voices and how they sang it, rather than whether or not the song was rearranged per se.

So the differences are subtle. But I realize there’s something to be said for that too, because now it’s down to how does the singer – not necessarily the band – reinterpret it.

First here’s Blind Faith’s original (which couldn’t be further from Cream if Clapton tried):

Here’s Alison Krauss’ version. The instrumentation provides a hint of country with what sounds like a dobro. And a heavier bass, at least initially. (With 27 Grammys, Krauss is the most awarded singer and the most awarded female artist in Grammy history.) I like her voice a lot on this:

I wanted to do Joe Cocker’s version. But I think he recorded it late in his career and I just didn’t care for the way he did it. I found a version by Bonnie Raitt and Lowell George (of Little Feat) but they spend half the thing tuning up.

So here’s Bonnie by herself on the great WMMR radio station in Philly. (I discovered I get more from this song hearing women sing it than I do guys). Raitt is more of a blues singer than Krauss and so maybe that’s the difference here, don’t know. I love her voice on this and I would hate to be a judge on a panel between here and Krauss. Sure would love to hear them duet on this one:

Clapton left Blind Faith shortly after their tour, traveling through Delaney and Bonnie’s ensemble on his way to Derek and the Dominos. Winwood, Baker and Grech stayed together to form Ginger Baker’s Air Force which lasted for a couple of albums.

Blind Faith only recorded one album. But there is also a video called London Hyde Park 1969, the entirety of which is on YouTube here if you’re so inclined.

Come down on your own and leave your body alone.
Somebody must change.
You are the reason I’ve been waiting all these years.
Somebody holds the key.

But I can’t find my way home.
And I ain’t done nothing wrong,
But I can’t find my way home

6 thoughts on “One Song/Three Versions – Can’t Find My Way Home

  1. One of my favourite songs, actually. Love that descending ”can’t find my way home” line. Ginger Baker’s drum work on the original is gorgeous as well. BTW, in terms of Clapton’s post-cream career, what do you think of Delaney and Bonnie? I only have the ‘On Tour with Eric Clapton’ live album, but I think it’s an absolute barnstormer of a rock record 😉

    Like

  2. Delaney and Bonnie not only were a good band, they were what I might call pivotal in rock. So they not only played with Duane Allman and Eric Clapton (at different times), but the guys who backed them later played on Harrison’s “All Things Must Pass” and then mutated into Derek and the Dominos! So in the same way that Alexis Korner and Cyril Davies were central to British blues, Delaney and Bonnie became a cauldron for a lot of really good stuff. Someone, either Phil Walden of Capricorn or Jerry Wexler of Atlantic said that Duane and Delaney used to sit at Delaney’s house and play acoustic blues. And he wishes he had recorded them. So yeah good band and hmmm, that would make a nice post.

    BTW, have you been able to listen to the various versions? Any thoughts?

    Like

  3. Will listen to Bonnie and Alison’s takes. CB likes them both. The original is from a fave album. Love this song and band. I think we might have talked about Winwood’s comment on Baker joining the group. If not it’s on the doc ‘Beware of Mr Baker’. Very funny.

    Like

    1. For whatever reason, this is one of the most popular posts I’ve ever done. I started to think that maybe some pop star had recently re-recorded it but if so, I can’t find it. People keep searching for this song and find my blog. Not complaining, just puzzled.

      As to “Mr. Baker,” yeah I saw that on cable a while back. Guy’s a real motherfucker, what?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Great song. Strange on the amount of hits. I gave up a long time ago wondering why certain songs, Bands etc weren’t more popular. Hey we like them. Ginger is a piece of work. I love characters like that. Totally unapologetic. I’m sure he’s been punched in the head a few times. Nut-bar but Hey, he can play the skins.

        Like

Comments welcomed/encouraged.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s