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Track Talk: Prodigal Son
Posted by: René ()
Date: December 2, 2013 11:16

Comments, input and alterations are very welcome!
________________________________________________________________________________

Prodigal Son
(Robert Wilkins)

Olympic Sound Studios, London, UK, May 13 - 21 & June 24, 1968 and
Sunset Sound Studios, Los Angeles, California, US, July 7 - 25, 1968

Mick Jagger - vocals, harmonica
Keith Richards - acoustic guitar, shout
Charlie Watts - percussion
Brian Jones - harmonica

Well, a poor boy took his father's bread and started down the road
Started down the road, took all he had and started down the road
Went out of his world, where God only knows and that'll be the way to get along

Well, poor boy spent all he had, famine come in the land
Famine come in the land, spent all he had and famine come in the land
Said: I believe I'll go and hire me to some man and that'll be the way to get along

Well, man said: I'll give you a job for to feed my swine
For to feed my swine, I'll give you a job for to feed my swine
Boy stood there and hung his head and cried, `cause that’s no way to get along

Said: I believe I'll ride, believe I'll go back home
Believe I'll go back home, believe I'll ride, believe I'll go back home
Or down the road as far as I can go and that'll be the way to get along

Well, father said: See my son coming home to me
Coming home to me, father ran and fell down on his knees
Said: Sing and praise, Lord have mercy on me, they said

Oh, poor boy stood there, hung his head and cried
Hung his head and cried, poor boy stood there, hung his head and cried
Said: Father will you look on me as a child, yeah

Well, father said: Eldest son, kill the fatted calf
Call the family round, kill that calf and call the family round
My son was lost but now he is found, but that's the way for us to get along, hey

Produced by Jimmy Miller

First released on:
The Rolling Stones - “Beggars Banquet” LP
(Decca SKL 4955) UK, December 6, 1968

Re: Track Talk: Prodigal Son
Date: December 2, 2013 11:22

Lovely track, both the studio version and the live versions! thumbs up

Keith at his acoustic peak. Mick does a mean country-blues.

Re: Track Talk: Prodigal Son
Posted by: Silver Dagger ()
Date: December 2, 2013 11:35

What a wonderful song for the Stones to record amid all the psychedelic rock raging at the time.

1968 was a real watershed for many groups who were embracing a new found love for acoustic sounds. The Beatles did it on the White Album, The Byrds were revisiting country on Sweetheart Of The Rodeo and of course The Band were influencing just about everyone with their heartfelt Americana and look back at the American music legacy.

And I've always put it down to one man, Bob Dylan who shocked the world when he plugged into that amp at Newport in 65 and went electric but then when everyone else started rocking out he went back to his trusty acoustic to produce a trio of wonderful country albums starting with John Wesley Harding in 67.

Mick and Keith were big Dylan fans and must have tuned in to the many biblical references on John Wesley Harding to be inspired to cover this song about redemption.

Re: Track Talk: Prodigal Son
Posted by: stone66 ()
Date: December 2, 2013 11:39

I guess they couldn't use Bill Wyman for this track, at least for the studio version.

There was an issue over songwriting royalties at the time, because Jagger/Richards were mistakenly credited. This led to a write-up in Rolling Stone the following year:

It's more than just a matter of credit where credit is due; anyone who copyrights a song is paid composer royalties for any recordings of that song. The standard music publishing contract provides that the author gets 50 percent of the royalties, the publisher gets the other 50 percent. Nowdays [1969], this generally means that for each song recorded on an LP, the composer gets 1 ¢ per copy sold.

Full article at: [www.rollingstone.com]


Re: Track Talk: Prodigal Son
Posted by: Rockman ()
Date: December 2, 2013 11:44







ROCKMAN

Re: Track Talk: Prodigal Son
Posted by: drewmaster ()
Date: December 2, 2013 12:17

Another little-known but priceless gem from one of the great albums in rock history. Everything works perfectly here; Mick’s old-man drawl is eerily authentic, and Keith’s guitar-picking is as down-home as it gets. One of their best covers ever.

Drew

Re: Track Talk: Prodigal Son
Posted by: Silver Dagger ()
Date: December 2, 2013 12:18

Prodigal Song along with Factory Girl pretty much influenced Rod Stewart's fantastic early albums' sound. Listen to Gasoline Alley, Only A Hobo, Tomorrow Is Such A Long Time, Mandolin Wind, Mama You Been On My Mind, Lost Paraguayos and you can hear echoes of those BB songs.

Re: Track Talk: Prodigal Son
Posted by: latebloomer ()
Date: December 2, 2013 13:32

I can never decide which I like better, Keith's guitar or Mick's vocals...they are both perfect. It really is a superb song.

Re: Track Talk: Prodigal Son
Posted by: MingSubu ()
Date: December 2, 2013 14:25

Quote
DandelionPowderman
Lovely track, both the studio version and the live versions! thumbs up

Keith at his acoustic peak. Mick does a mean country-blues.

Just like to echo this.

Re: Track Talk: Prodigal Son
Posted by: Come On ()
Date: December 2, 2013 14:34

6 december 1968...WOW!... Feels like yesterday I listened to it the first time...45 years...Together with 'Parachute Woman' this song were my favorite...bluesy songs...thumbs up

2 1 2 0

Re: Track Talk: Prodigal Son
Posted by: RobertJohnson ()
Date: December 2, 2013 17:11

A classic Blues tune, great rendition by Keith, Charlie and Mick. One of the tracks that prove the great abilities of the Stones as a blues band. Why not today? In my opinion one of the greatest songs the Stones ever did.

Re: Track Talk: Prodigal Son
Posted by: His Majesty ()
Date: December 2, 2013 17:12

I like that it's two acoustics playing very tightly giving the impression of it being only one.

The mixed out, but captured via mic bleed harmonica adds some oddness to the track, would it have been better to have had it more audible?

Re: Track Talk: Prodigal Son
Date: December 2, 2013 17:35

Quote
His Majesty
I like that it's two acoustics playing very tightly giving the impression of it being only one.

The mixed out, but captured via mic bleed harmonica adds some oddness to the track, would it have been better to have had it more audible?

thumbs up Taylorites' ultimate nightmare! grinning smiley

Re: Track Talk: Prodigal Son
Posted by: Spud ()
Date: December 2, 2013 18:05

Quote
His Majesty
I like that it's two acoustics playing very tightly giving the impression of it being only one.

The mixed out, but captured via mic bleed harmonica adds some oddness to the track, would it have been better to have had it more audible?

The stuff that's barely audible is a big part of the magic in the "classic" Stones catalogue.winking smiley The stuff that's buried deep in the mix. You can hardly make it out but it's often key to the feel and the groove.

Re: Track Talk: Prodigal Son
Posted by: steffiestones ()
Date: December 2, 2013 18:08

My favourite!

Re: Track Talk: Prodigal Son
Posted by: with sssoul ()
Date: December 2, 2013 20:49

What a shining piece of forever - they were channeling, baby

Re: Track Talk: Prodigal Son
Posted by: Deltics ()
Date: December 2, 2013 20:58






"As we say in England, it can get a bit trainspottery"

Re: Track Talk: Prodigal Son
Posted by: latebloomer ()
Date: December 2, 2013 21:41

Quote
steffiestones
My favourite!


That bug is fascinating, steffiestones, but please squash it. It's making me a little crazy.

Re: Track Talk: Prodigal Son
Posted by: Aquamarine ()
Date: December 2, 2013 21:48

Quote
drewmaster
Another little-known but priceless gem from one of the great albums in rock history. Everything works perfectly here; Mick’s old-man drawl is eerily authentic, and Keith’s guitar-picking is as down-home as it gets. One of their best covers ever.

Drew

thumbs upthumbs up I adore everything about this song/version.

Re: Track Talk: Prodigal Son
Posted by: Doxa ()
Date: December 2, 2013 23:49

Deep, deep cut. It is thanks to these kind of tracks that album is the most important piece of art in the rock business. And it is also an example how artistically ambitious artists are able to use the format in the best possible way.

It starts beautifully the trilogy of earthy country blues, followed by "Love In Vain" and "You Gotta Move", which at least for me consitutes a small but extremely important statement. With these three tracks the Stones really dig deep back to the sources of their music - a study of rock and roll anthropology - and I think without them they never had their degree finished. And if we compare the 'back to basics'/Americana movement of 1968 (Silver Dagger gave a nice sketch of that) I don't think any one else than the Stones could do such a convincing, through-going, authentic-sounding deep cut like "Prodigal Son". Actually one of their finest and non-compromised interpretations of any genre ever. There is no any fancy clothing in it - it is so far from commercial 'pop' than any pop band might ever have done. So damn mature.

- Doxa



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2013-12-02 23:57 by Doxa.

Re: Track Talk: Prodigal Son
Posted by: slew ()
Date: December 3, 2013 04:30

One of the type of tracks that keeps me in love with this band's music. It is very authentic. Mick and Keith nail this song. Factory Girl, Parachute Woman and this one are all great songs. They have all of the little nuances in them that just make the Stones great. Keith's picking here is sublime and Micks drawl is down home! Dear Doctor can also fall in with these. I think they only got better at this type of song with Love In Vain and You Gotta Move and then back to the electric with Hip Shake and Stop Breaking Down. Wonderful Stuff. I really wish they would do a whole album of blues covers today.

Re: Track Talk: Prodigal Son
Posted by: Rockman ()
Date: December 3, 2013 04:46

Anyone else remember the double page Marantz advertisements
from around that time that stated something like... if you don't own
a Marantz Stereo you won't have the quality of sound to actually hear
Keith's guitar string snap and wind itself around the neck at the very end of Prodigal Son ....

I'll see if I can find one of them ....



ROCKMAN

Re: Track Talk: Prodigal Son
Posted by: Aquamarine ()
Date: December 3, 2013 04:47

Quote
slew
One of the type of tracks that keeps me in love with this band's music. It is very authentic. Mick and Keith nail this song. Factory Girl, Parachute Woman and this one are all great songs. They have all of the little nuances in them that just make the Stones great. Keith's picking here is sublime and Micks drawl is down home! Dear Doctor can also fall in with these. I think they only got better at this type of song with Love In Vain and You Gotta Move and then back to the electric with Hip Shake and Stop Breaking Down. Wonderful Stuff. I really wish they would do a whole album of blues covers today.

Totally agree.

I probably agree with Doxa, but I have no idea these days what a deep cut is. I probably like it, but there again I like warhorses. Also cats.

Re: Track Talk: Prodigal Son
Posted by: pmk251 ()
Date: December 3, 2013 07:30

A very off message Biblical parable song at a time when there was strong skepticism about the older generation and life was to be experienced out there on the road a la Easy Rider. A similar off message song at the time is The Band's first track...Tears of Rage, a father's lament about the estrangement from his daughter. I suppose a more on message song heard during the '69 tour was I'm Free, but even then I thought it was hokey. Jagger may be feeling free, but this cash strapped middle class teenage kid did not feel that way at all.

Re: Track Talk: Prodigal Son
Posted by: drbryant ()
Date: December 3, 2013 08:08

Quote
pmk251
A very off message Biblical parable song at a time when there was strong skepticism about the older generation and life was to be experienced out there on the road a la Easy Rider. A similar off message song at the time is The Band's first track...Tears of Rage, a father's lament about the estrangement from his daughter. I suppose a more on message song heard during the '69 tour was I'm Free, but even then I thought it was hokey. Jagger may be feeling free, but this cash strapped middle class teenage kid did not feel that way at all.

You may be missing the point. The essay on Beggars Banquet in the book stranded sees it a different way. The Stones identify with the Prodigal Son, who leaves home, blows all his money on booze, broads and drugs, then comes back home penniless, where he is forgiven and embraced. The good son who stayed home working on the farm is probably Paul McCartney.

Anyway, I love the track - the timeless of the blues is underscored when a track written in the 1920's flows so naturally into a track (Stray Cat Blues) written four decades later.

Re: Track Talk: Prodigal Son
Posted by: stonehearted ()
Date: December 3, 2013 08:30

Quote
drbryant
Quote
pmk251
A very off message Biblical parable song at a time when there was strong skepticism about the older generation and life was to be experienced out there on the road a la Easy Rider. A similar off message song at the time is The Band's first track...Tears of Rage, a father's lament about the estrangement from his daughter. I suppose a more on message song heard during the '69 tour was I'm Free, but even then I thought it was hokey. Jagger may be feeling free, but this cash strapped middle class teenage kid did not feel that way at all.

You may be missing the point. The essay on Beggars Banquet in the book stranded sees it a different way. The Stones identify with the Prodigal Son, who leaves home, blows all his money on booze, broads and drugs, then comes back home penniless, where he is forgiven and embraced.

With The Stones, it was exactly the opposite--they left home because they were penniless, then returned home multi-millionaires, but were ultimately forgiven and embraced. For leaving home, that is.

Re: Track Talk: Prodigal Son
Posted by: ryanpow ()
Date: December 3, 2013 09:41

An example of the Stone's genius in getting down a genre while putting their own unique personality into it.

Re: Track Talk: Prodigal Son
Posted by: Doxa ()
Date: December 3, 2013 11:02

Thanks Stone66 for the ROLLING STONE link, and Rockman for the record sleeve.

Interesting dude that Robert Wilkins guy. In the 'classical days' of Delta blues, was hanging around in Mississippi with people like Memphis Minnie and Son House, recorded a dozen and a half tracks during 1929-1935 (including others "Rolling Stone"), then had a conversion, took the minister route, and finally was 're-discovered' during the 60's Blues Revival days, and recorded new material, among others "Prodigal Son", a religious version of his early 1929 secular recording "That's No Way To Get Along".

Here is the original - and absolutely great - "That's No Way To Get Along", with lyrics:





I'm goin' home, friends, sit down and tell my, my mama
Friends, sit down and tell my mama
I'm goin' home, sit down and tell my mama
I'm goin' home, sit down and tell my mama
That that's no way to get along

These low-down women, mama, they treated your, ahw, poor son wrong
Mama, treated me wrong
These low-down women, mama, treated your poor son wrong
These low-down women, mama, treated your poor son wrong
And that's no way for him to get along

They treated me like my poor heart was made of a rock or stone
Mama, made of a rock or stone
Treated me like my poor heart was made of a rock or stone
Treated me like my poor heart was made of a rock or stone
And that's no way for me to get along

You know, that was enough, mama, to make your son wished he's dead and gone
Mama, wished I's dead and gone
That is enough to make your son, mama, wished he's dead and gone
That is enough to make your son, mama, wished he's dead and gone
'Cause that's no way for him to get along

I stood on the roadside, I cried alone, all by myself
I cried alone by myself
I stood on the roadside and cried alone by myself
I stood on the roadside and cried alone by myself
Cryin', "That's no way for me to get along"

I's wantin' some train to come along and take me away from here
Friends, take me away from here
Some train to come along and take me away from here
Some train to come along and take me away from here
And that's no way for me to get along


And here is the version after seen The Light, by "Reverend" Robert Wilkins, recorded in 1964. and released in the album MEMPHIS GOSPEL SINGER:





However, most likely the most well-known version, and the one The Stones picked up, is the version made in Newport 1964, released 1965:





As one can hear, the Stones version is 'edited' version of Wilkin's longer story.

Probably the 'coolest' choice they ever did to cover a song!

- Doxa



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2013-12-03 11:05 by Doxa.

Re: Track Talk: Prodigal Son
Posted by: His Majesty ()
Date: December 3, 2013 11:20

Quote
Rockman
Anyone else remember the double page Marantz advertisements
from around that time that stated something like... if you don't own
a Marantz Stereo you won't have the quality of sound to actually hear
Keith's guitar string snap and wind itself around the neck at the very end of Prodigal Son ....

Marantz makes yah hear things that don't happen? grinning smiley

Re: Track Talk: Prodigal Son
Posted by: drewmaster ()
Date: December 3, 2013 12:47

Quote
His Majesty
Quote
Rockman
Anyone else remember the double page Marantz advertisements
from around that time that stated something like... if you don't own
a Marantz Stereo you won't have the quality of sound to actually hear
Keith's guitar string snap and wind itself around the neck at the very end of Prodigal Son ....

Marantz makes yah hear things that don't happen? grinning smiley

Well, what IS that mysterious sound at the end? I've always thought it sounds like something being tossed (or dropped) on the floor. It's a cool ending to the track.

Drew

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