That's No Way to Get Along

Songfacts®:

  • This version of the Robert Wilkins' 1930s blues number is from British guitarist/singer/songwriter Eric Clapton's self-titled 19th studio album.
  • The song is one of four collaborations with J.J. Cale on the record. Their friendship started after Cale penned two of Eric Clapton's career-defining solo hits, "Cocaine" and "After Midnight."
  • Clapton revealed to Mojo magazine that he has always hated the sound of his singing voice, and it took this collaboration with Cale to re-inspire his confidence. Said the British guitar legend: "I hate my singing. It all sounds like I'm 16 years old from Surbiton. When I watch Ray Charles sing I think, 'That's it, that's how it's done'. He remembers thousands of songs and he sings them all as if they're the most important songs he knows."

    Clapton added: "When I started singing it JJ started to repeat the line. I thought, 'What's he doing?' I thought he'd sing with me – but this was JJ putting the New Orleans thing into it, and it was perfect. I learned from JJ that it's okay if I sing very quietly. That's almost like not having to try to sing. You can have Ray Charles who can do all kinds of things with his voice. Then you've got JJ at the other end of the spectrum – he creates exactly the same amount of emotional capacity in a very minimal way. So there are different ways to do it."
  • Robert Wilkins later deserted secular music and became a minister in the Church of God in Christ. He began playing gospel music with a blues feel and changed "That's No Way's 'unholy' words to a biblical theme re-titling it, "The Prodigal Son."
  • The Rolling Stones did a cover version of "Prodigal Son" for their 1968 Beggar's Banquet album. It is also thought that Led Zeppelin's Poor Tom was influenced by Wilkins' tune.

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