How did they even decide who got their name first on this album? I’d suppose B.B.’s first as a sign of respect from Eric? Right on.
Riding With The King is a great album, made by two guitar legends and a top band. They were clearly having fun, here. I’m sure you can imagine what it sounds like, given these two players, without ever having to hear them play a note. Still, it’s really, really worth it to dig into this album.
The title track slinks along, and even has a bit of spoken word from B.B. Not a bad introduction, indeed. Ten Long Years is pure B.B.-sounding, but both guitars are doing all of the talking on this slower blues. Hot damn. Key To The Highway goes acoustic, a nice touch. Marry You is 70’s funk blues, a really swinging track. Clapton’s vocals are played a bit too straight, but so what?
Three O’Clock Blues here is pure gold, a last song of the night, after last call, a blues to send you off into the night. So sweet, one of my favourite tracks here, just for mood alone. They play Help The Poor, an old B.B. standard, fairly close to the way it has always sounded. Still a nice shuffle to it. I Wanna Be feels like it could have been one of the stronger tracks off Journeyman, and that’s alright with me. Worried Life Blues goes acoustic again, pure old blues in the best tradition. Another favourite here. So it seems I like the slower tracks, here. Interesting.
Days Of Old is a jump blues that really cooks. It’s impossible to sit still listening to this. Blistering solos, and great piano work. When My Heart Beats Like A Hammer is another sweet, low down and slow blues. More great piano all over this one. This one just drips with blues. Hold On, I’m Coming! is a song title that, no matter who does it, always makes me snicker like a schoolboy because it’s never what I think of when I read or hear those words. Anyway. This is a credible version, about half-speed from the Sam & Dave version to which you’re probably accustomed. And bringing up the rear is a lovely love song version of Come Rain Or Come Shine. B.B.’s vocals sound particularly fragile, which lends beauty.
I could listen to this record anytime. Of course there are tracks I’d pull out for a mix tape, but there truthfully isn’t anything close to a mediocre track here. Put these two legends together, and that’s what you get. Brilliance.