June 19, 2017 – Noel Neal (James Cotton Band) was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in 1963. The Neal family from Baton Rouge is known nationwide as a blues family with numerous performers, Kenny probably being the most famous one.
Neal journeyed to Chicago early on where he played with James Cotton for over 30 years, touring and recording for the late Chicago blues star and harmonica virtuoso James Cotton, who also recently passed on March 16 of this year. He also recorded with his late father, Raful Neal, and his brother, Kenny Neal.
His bass playing can be heard on Kenny Neal’s Grammy-nominated 2016 album, “Bloodline.” “Bloodline” won a Blues Music Award for best contemporary album.
In addition Neal played bass with a who’s who of blues icons such as Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, Johnny Winter, Lucky Peterson, Lonnie Brooks and Junior Wells.
Neal also played with many stalwarts of the Second City scene. He will be remembered for his superb playing, his amazing stage presence, and so much more. Neal was 54 years old when he died from cardiac arrest on June 19, 2017.