Sunday, September 3, 2017

Incompetent/ Can’t: Can’t Find My Way Home

Blind Faith: Can’t Find My Way Home


I have not been the moderator here for quite some time now. Usually, that doesn’t make much difference, but it does with regards to our new theme. I have some ideas about how to treat the “Incompetent” part, and I will be presenting at least one of those as we move on. But I am not sure what was intended. Perhaps it is better not to know, but rather to put forward one’s own interpretation, which should make this a fascinating theme. But the “Can’t” part is easy enough. Can’t Find My Way Home immediately came to mind, and no wonder. The song is almost fifty years old now, and it continues to be covered in new and interesting ways. That is a fine definition of a classic.

You could say that the song deserves to be obscure. The lyric is barely there, consisting of only one verse and a chorus. The words express a sense of helplessness, and there is no resolution to this, no solace offered. But that is, in a way, the point. For all the idealism of the hippies who embraced the song and made it a hit, there was always a sense that they were fighting something they could not stop, something that was just too big for them. Of course, it did not hurt that the song was by a new supergroup. Blind Faith featured Steve Winwood from Traffic and Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker from Cream, and both of those groups had just broken up. Only bass player Rick Grech, then with the group Family, was relatively unknown. But Blind Faith was not popular just because of their lineup, nor was it simply the fact that they were one of the first supergroups. The talent that came together for this project delivered the goods, and it is ultimately the performance of Can’t Find My Way Home that makes it work, and has made the song an inspiration to musicians ever since. The song has brought together unlikely groupings of musicians for some great performances, so I wanted to include some of those.

Bonnie Raitt with Lowell George: Can’t Find My Way Home


In 1972, Bonnie Raitt was making wonderful blues-based music, but she was far from well known. Lowell George and his band Little Feet were just getting started themselves. Raitt would record her own solo version of Can’t Find My Way Home, although I couldn’t find it on any of her albums. But this version comes from a radio broadcast in New York City. Either Raitt or George could be playing the acoustic guitar or the slide guitar on this one, and there is also an acoustic bass part played by Freebo. This spare treatment really brings out the emotion of the piece.

Allison Krauss and Union Station: Can’t Find My Way Home


Allison Krauss and Union Station are known as a bluegrass group, but that label does not fully describe their artistry. This version of Can’t Find My Way Home honors the song’s roots in blues rock, while also updating the sound in brilliant ways. The recording was done for the TV show Crossing Jordan.

Sheryl Crow with Warren Haynes and Trombone Shorty: Can’t Find My Way Home

[Not Available for Purchase]

As seen here, Sheryl Crow and her band are a part of the jam band scene. She invites Warren Haynes and Trombone Shorty to join them on stage for this one, and Crow’s band supports them ably, with very satisfying results. Crow and her band do not show the elasticity that allowed the Grateful Dead to, for example, segue from Scarlet Begonias to Fire on the Montain, but this is still a strong performance. It makes me wonder why Sheryl Crow has not so far put Can’t Find My Way Home on any of her albums.

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