Tulsa Time

Album: Backless (1978)
Charted: 30


  • This song was originally recorded by the Texas songwriter Don Williams; it was written by his guitarist Danny Flowers. The song is about a guy who leaves Oklahoma for the bright lights of Hollywood, but discovers that he is much happier back home where he can set his watch to "Tulsa Time," where things happen at a much slower pace.
  • The original version of this song was released earlier in 1978 on Don Williams' album Expressions. Clapton was into American roots music and had recorded Williams' song "We're All the Way" on his 1977 album Slowhand. When it came time to record Backless, he included this song and released it as a single, backed with "Cocaine," a song written by the Tulsa musician J.J. Cale.
  • The original 1978 single didn't chart, but a live version taken from a show at the Budokhan Temple in Japan was issued in 1980 and made #30 US.
  • When he recorded this, four members of Clapton's band were from Oklahoma: bassist Carl Radle, drummer Jamie Oldaker, organist Dick Simms and backup singer Marcy Levy. Radle, Oldaker and Simms were all from Tulsa and had a band together called the Tulsa County Band, which helped forge the "Tulsa Sound," a melding of country and rock. Clapton was smitten with this sound, and used these musicians to create it on his Slowhand and Backless albums. On his next album, Just One Night, Clapton switched to British musicians.
  • For a while, Clapton opened his shows with this song, including the Budokhan show the single was taken from.
  • Country singer Billy Ray Cyrus covered this twice for his 2017 Set The Record Straight album. His first version features his daughter Noah Cyrus and Aerosmith guitarist Joe Perry. The "Achy Breaky Heart" star joked that he didn't even need to be on the recording.

    "This is Noah Cyrus with the legend, the rock 'n' roll premiere guitarist of the world, Joe Perry. It's Noah and Joe Perry together, and it is blistering," Cyrus boasted to The Boot. "I hate to say it, but, boy, I got something really special here, man. Noah and Joe Perry. They don't even need me - like, I don't even need to be in the mix ... I just use myself as a little bit of humor in the background."

    The second interpretation titled "Tulsa Time (Rokman Remix)" is a dance version, which again features Noah Cyrus. In fact, Billy Ray credits his daughter with pushing for the dance remix to be included on Set The Record Straight. He explained:

    "My hat's off again to Noah. She was the one that hung in there with it and said, 'Dad, I just love that dance mix of 'Tulsa Time.' She ... was locked into performing it with me on the record before the legend Don Williams passed away, and the day that he passed away, Noah sent me a text that said, 'Daddy, I'm so sorry about your friend... We have to do ["Tulsa Time"] in his honor,' and here we are."

Comments: 6

  • Damon Wolf from Las VegasI think it will be Tulsa Time in a couple hours....
  • Wil from Atlanta, Gajoel duke is the real writer of tulsa time
  • Mista B from Tulsa, OkEric plays this song because of his connection to Tulsa itself. During the early to mid 1970's he made several trips to Tulsa to jam and record with area musicians, several of which ended up on albums and tours, among them Leon Russel. This song is also on the Crossroads Festival from Chicago concert.
  • Stefanie from Rock Hill, ScI thought this was written by J.J. Kayle for some reason. I guess not.
  • Ben from Pensacola, FlSimply put, a GREAT song.
  • Adam from Beaver Falls, PaThere's a video of this from the ARMS Concert in 1984 with former Yardbirds Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and Eric himself all playing guitar along with Rolling Stone Bill Wyman on bass.
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