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Riding with the King

Riding with the King

4.8 16
by Eric Clapton, B.B. King

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The coming together of artists as distinctive as Eric Clapton and B.B. King is a major event, rife with expectations from even the most cynical blues fan. And thankfully, Riding with the King is true to the best of both B.B. King and Clapton's recordings. The John Hiatt-penned title cut finds both artists


The coming together of artists as distinctive as Eric Clapton and B.B. King is a major event, rife with expectations from even the most cynical blues fan. And thankfully, Riding with the King is true to the best of both B.B. King and Clapton's recordings. The John Hiatt-penned title cut finds both artists singing and playing guitar along with Andy Fairweather-Low and Doyle Bramhall II, the son of Stevie Ray Vaughan's songwriting partner Doyle Bramhall. All that six-string work is a bit over the top, but then it's the perfect tune for excess, and King's spoken lyrics about leaving Mississippi at ten years old with "a suit cut sharp as a razor and a heart of gold" makes it seem like the tune was written just for him. The set settles down for a classic version of King's "Ten Long Years," with the King taking on vocals while Clapton, Fairweather, and Bramhall play guitar. Both superstars go into acoustic mode for a lean versions of "Key to the Highway" and "Worried Life" while their "Three O'Clock Blues," "When My Heart Beats Like a Hammer," and "Help the Poor" recall King's laid-back electric blues circa 1968. From King's jump-blues era in the '50s comes a killer version of "Days of Old" with Clapton so at ease and energized by this audience with the King that he actually growls and shouts his shared vocals (as he also does on the cover of the Sam & Dave hit "Hold On, I'm Comin'" and several other cuts. Two Bramhall-penned tunes have that big-arena rock feel --"I Wanna Be" and "Marry You" -- obviously included to keep Clapton's fans interested, but King's mammoth voice holds its own in the fray. The set ends with a lovely, string-laden version of the Mercer/Arlen standard "Come Rain or Come Shine." Though the tune has previously been righteously bluesified by Ray Charles and James Booker, the Clapton/King rendition is infused with just the right amount of passionate devotion. Clapton and his frequent collaborator Simon Climie produced Riding with the King for Clapton's label, with their focus on paying tribute to the King of the Blues without getting on their hands and knees. The result is King's most exciting work in nearly a decade.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - William Ruhlmann
The potential for a collaboration between B.B. King and Eric Clapton is enormous, of course, and the real questions concern how it is organized and executed. This first recorded pairing between the 74-year-old King and the 55-year-old Clapton was put together in the most obvious way: Clapton arranged the session using many of his regular musicians, picked the songs, and co-produced with his partner Simon Climie. That ought to mean that King would be a virtual guest star rather than earning a co-billing, but because of Clapton's respect for his elder, it nearly works the other way around. The set list includes lots of King specialties -- "Ten Long Years," "Three O'Clock Blues," "Days of Old," "When My Heart Beats Like a Hammer" -- as well as standards like "Hold on I'm Coming" and "Come Rain or Come Shine," with some specially written and appropriate recent material thrown in, so King has reason to be comfortable without being complacent. The real danger is that Clapton will defer too much; though he can be inspired by a competing guitarist such as Duane Allman, he has sometimes tended to lean too heavily on accompanists such as Albert Lee and Mark Knopfler when working with them in concert. That danger is partially realized; as its title indicates, Riding With the King is more about King than it is about Clapton. But the two players turn out to have sufficiently complementary, if distinct, styles so that Clapton's supportive role fills out and surrounds King's stinging single-string playing. (It's also worth noting that there are usually another two or three guitarists on each track.) The result is an effective, if never really stunning, work.
Rolling Stone - David Fricke
...as celebrity blues summits go, Riding With the King is refreshingly ham-free, a commercially astute meeting of like mind, heart and voices.

Product Details

Release Date:
Reprise / Wea


Album Credits

Performance Credits

Eric Clapton   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
B.B. King   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Joe Sample   Piano,fender rhodes,Wurlitzer
Andy Fairweather Low   Guitar
Nathan East   Bass
Steve Gadd   Drums
Susannah Melvoin   Background Vocals
Wendy Melvoin   Background Vocals
Jimmie Vaughan   Guitar
Tim Carmon   Hammond Organ
Doyle Bramhall   Guitar

Technical Credits

Lowell Fulson   Composer
Big Maceo Merriweather   Composer
Craig Anderson   Author
Spencer Chrislu   Author
Eric Clapton   Producer
Simon Climie   Producer
Alan Douglas   Engineer
B.B. King   Composer
Riley King   Composer
Arif Mardin   Orchestration
Charlie Singleton   Composer
Stephen Walker   Art Direction
David May   Producer
Paul Waller   drum programming
David Dieckmann   Author
Jules Taub   Composer
Jules Bihari   Composer

Customer Reviews

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Riding with the King 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love classic rock, Eric Clapton and have just recently discovered blues music. My favorite so far is BB King. These two artists together are a good way to introduce young people to the blues. I bought it this morning and have already listened to it half a dozen times. The music and the rythmn is AWESOME!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this album, but didn't find any of the songs particularly grabbed me (well maybe the one with the wah-wah at the start). I suspect this album will succeed big time, but only because of the star status of EC & BB (who are both great guitarists).
Guest More than 1 year ago
Listen to this album and you will truly be riding with not one but two Kings. I didn't think it could get any better than Clapton's Unplugged CD but Eric and BB together ...all I can say is WOW!! This is a true example of real Blues. I only hope there will be more albums coming from these two--together.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A masterpiece. Clapton the king of smooth and cool. Handsome and talented. A legend. Perfection. BB and Clapton combined, oh total solid perfection. Give me more!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have been eagerly anticipating this album for some months, and i was very excited when i finally paid my money for it, and put it on my stereo. I had heard cuts off of it on the radio the night before, and to be honest, some of it sounded cheesy and predictable. But, the more i listened to the lyrics behind the choruses, the more the i saw that B.B and Eric really were speaking the honest truth. In being an avid fan of Clapton's, this is some of his most energetic singing to date. And the guitar interplay betweeen the two is great as well. B.B's voice smokes, shining brightly on the mix, while Eric holds his head high, waiting for his chance. All in all, this is a great party record, and a great jam record, full of the truthful singing and playing that has long since left studio's. I'm glad that Eric and B.B had a chance to make this record, before it was too late. I hope that this record turns more young people on to the blues. There will be a long wait before we get two musicians that are this good working together again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this CD about 3 weeks ago and It's better everytime I listen to it. Whether you are a fan of Clapton or King it is a great CD to add to your collection. These two guys really compliment each other rather than being two great stars that try to take control of the stage. It just sounds as if they were sitting in a living room playing and having a Hell-of-a-time. And, as if just for the fun of it they play 'Key to the Highway' and 'Worried Life Blues' with acustic guitars and was it ever fantastic. 'Riding with the King' is going to take many awards this year and is one you will definitely want to add to your collection.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have seen B.B. King once and Clapton 5 times. There are the two best guitar players anywhere in the world. Must be nice being at their age, Clapton being the baby, but both guitar legends are enjoying life. Buy and enjoy a truly classic album.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Its too bad they didn't put the fire in all the songs like the slow blues numbers. They carry the album. Thats where you will find the best guitar and vocal work. I had hoped King would push Clapton the way Duane Allman did. But it was not to be. Clapton seams content to just play the same licks and solo's over and over again. As I said, I did enjoy the slow blues tunes though. They alone make the album worth the money. It's just tobad the rest of the album doesn't match the intensity of the slow tunes. The acoustic songs did nothing for me. Im sorry but after hearing Clapton wail on Key To The Highway (Dominoes) and Worried Life Blues (Crossroads 2) I don't understand the point of doing it on acoustic. He could never top the Strat performance's. He and King should have cranked up the tube amps on those tunes, I was surprised they didn't. I think Clapton's singing ability has over taken his guitar ability.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is amazing...I can't take it out of my CD player. It has everything from contemporary blues/rock to traditional blues. What can you expect from two guitar gods? Perfection.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album should win two Grammys: one for Best Duet and second for Best Blues album. It's the most inspired Clapton since 'Journeyman' and BB sounds terrific. Every track is pure Blues' heaven!
crafter315 More than 1 year ago
I knew as soon as I heard the song "Riding With The King" that I had to have this CD. Everything about it is awesome.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Very unique combination of style. Each time I listen to the CD, I notice something different. Highly recommend this classic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The most defining album since the 1970 debut of the guitar album of all time, Layla and Assorted Love Songs. B.B. and Uncle Eric play so well off each other, one must pray this is but the first of a series by these two Masters...
Guest More than 1 year ago
One of the best collaborative efforts ever!! The combination of Eric Clapton and BB King is incredible. They blend so well together. This CD should appeal to a wide audience -- young and old!
Guest More than 1 year ago
BB King is one of my all time favs, and with Eric Clapton they created a great blues-rock album. I am 14 years old.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago