I had always assumed that Eric Clapton was a mostly useless windbag. But recently I discovered that, in fact, there was a period between 1965 and 1970 or ’71 during which Clapton was not a useless windbag. “Clapton is God” hyperbole aside, the guitarist went on a pretty remarkable run between the Yardbirds, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, Cream, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” Blind Faith, Delaney and Bonnie, session work, and Derek and the Dominos. After that, he seems to have spiraled into crippling drug addiction, only to reemerge to make schmaltzy blues-rock for almost four decades. Anyway, over the weekend I was playing Blind Faith, the sole album by the “supergroup” of the same name, and it sounded pretty badass. The opening track, “Had to Cry Today,” features one of the gnarliest, stone-cold guitar riffs I’ve ever heard. I was surprised to discover that it’s Steve Winwood playing the riff with Clapton, but the two make it work before the latter rips off an impressive solo. I haven’t been able to stop humming the riff since Sunday, and for today’s 12 O’Clock Track, here’s an example of a time when Clapton made crunchy, premetal rock music.