B.B. King and Eric Clapton’s ‘Riding with the King’ album like working with ‘blues royalty’ for Nathan East

The Grammy Award-winning 2000 album features San Diego bassist Nathan East, who says: ‘B.B. was such a great storyteller’

Having already worked separately with B.B. King and Eric Clapton, bass-guitar great Nathan East was understandably delighted to join the two guitar legends in 2000 when they recorded the chart-topping “Riding with the King.” The album, which went on to earn a Grammy Award, is being re-released in expanded form on Friday to commemorate its 20th anniversary.

The new 20th anniversary edition of “Riding with the King” adds two previously unreleased numbers to the original 12-song album. The two, “Let Me Love You” and “Rollin’ and Tumblin’,” fit in nicely with the other chestnuts here, which include such King staples as “Three O’Clock Blues” and “Key to the Highway.” 

East recalls several other selections being recorded that have yet to come out. After discussing what songs they wanted to record in the week prior to the sessions, King and Clapton worked out the arrangements with East.

“I think there were several that were agreed on in advance, and I remember discussing songs with them that they both liked and wanted to include,” the versatile bassist said.

East was thrilled to be collaborating with King and Clapton, whose music he had listened to and played while growing up here in the 1960s and ‘70s. 

“To hear these two icons in the studio together, at that level, everything they played was gold,” he said. “It was so much fun to watch these guys trade solos and then both sing. It was like being in the middle of blues royalty.

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