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Best Thing I Ever Had
Raful Neal & the
Blues Special Band
Harp from Baton Rouge
Raful Neal performs at the Blues Special Club in Buenos Aires, Argentina in October 1998 featuring Raful Neal (vocal & harp), Julian Diana & Daniel Raffo (guitars), Fernando Tejero (keyboard), Mauro "Easy Baby" Diana (bass), and Adrian Flores (drums).
Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1936 Raful Neal was raised by his aunt and uncle on a tenant farm in the West Baton Rouge Parish of Chamberlin. He took up the blues harp at age fourteen, tutored by a local player named Ike Brown and influenced by Little Walter. Neal's first band, "The Clouds" also included guitarist Buddy Guy. Neal debuted on vinyl unsuccessfully in 1958 with "Sunny Side of Love" a single for Don Robey's Houston, Texas based Peacock Records.
Neal's debut LP "Louisiana Legend" first emerged on King Snake Records and was picked up by Alligator Records in 1990. He toured around the world and in 1997 he contributed harp to a couple of tracks on "Tab Benoit's Live: Swampland Jam" record. Nine of his ten children are also blues musicians, and several performed with him on his later Alligator releases. After a long bout with cancer, Raful Neal died in Baton Rouge in September 2004.
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