A few years later, Black migrated to San Antonio to study guitar with Freddie King, one of his earliest influences, and Herb Ellis. Studying with King and Ellis, the latter of the two had Black transmuting Charlie Parker tunes for large jazz bands, was almost all the fledgling young guitar player needed. The only element missing was a long, hard apprenticeship on the road.
Like many young musicians, Black made a break from school to start his own band - The Dogmen. The Dogmen rocked for a trio for ten years with Neal's brother Gary Walden on bass and drummer Rene Lopez. The Dogmen blazed throughout the United States and Canada with their rocket fuel blues, headlining many of the top showcase rooms and opening for major acts like Stevie Ray, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Albert King and The Blues Brothers.
Returning to San Antonio after plowing his own historical blues/rock path, Black realized his hometown wasn't big enough for his bite. He and his old friend (pedal steel player Gib Wharton) headed for the only place they knew would satisfy their appetite for live performance.
After a series of sidemen came and went, Neal found drummer James Wormworth and knew he had found what he needed. Wormworth was playing with Johnny Copeland when they first met at a gig and decided they had to work together. With the addition of Barry Ramus on bass, Neal had assembled a unit that could keep pace with his smokin' Texas guitar style and metamorphosis, and the addition of Gib Wharton on pedal steel, created Neal Black and The Healers.
Black and his band soon started bringing their sound in the studio and the result, two years later, was Neal Black and The Healers.
Although the record is an excellent indication of the band's live show, Neal Black and The Healers features many of Neal's friends as guest artists, including: Jon Paris of Johnny Winter's band; Harvey Brooks (Bob Dylan and Miles Davis); Jim Crouse and Chuck Fisher (horns from Graham Parker and Blood, Sweat and Tears).
With Neal Black and The Healers receiving critical acclaim, Neal Black and The Healers hit the road...blazin'!