Alternately known as just Deacon John, this longtime New Orleans R&B performer and session musician (also known early on as Johnny Moore ) earned his nickname 'Deacon' from an old bandmate for his kept clean-cut, church ready look. During the mid 60's he formed a band called "Deacon John and the Ivories" backing up Irma Thomas, Art & Aaron Neville, Benny Spellman, Oliver Morgan, and others, performing for High School Dances. Over the years he's remained a regional obscurity, but one who always had work recording and entertaining live around his home town. He's made a few solo records with regional popularity, and played guitar for many others including Aaron Neville's "Tell It Like It Is" on Parlo, Ernie K. Doe’s "Mother In Law”, Robert Parker's "Barefootin'", and Chris Kenner’s "Land of 1000 Dances".
One of 13 children, John learned guitar from Treme neighborhood characters like Roy Montrell, Papoose Nelson and George Davis. His recording career begins when his band "Deacon John and the Ivories", became the hard working hot house band circa 1960 at New Orleans' now shuttered, but legendary live music spot the Dew Drop Inn. After producer Allen Toussaint saw him, he was soon playing guitar on various sessions for the Minit and Alon labels amongst others. Moore eventually recorded as a featured artist for Rip Records in in 1962, waxing releasing "I Can't Wait" b/w "When I'm With You". With limited income from 45's, to support himself Moore really earned his chops and suppers on hot wild nights at chitlin circuit venues including The College Inn in Thibodaux, backing greats like Little Esther, Wilson Pickett, Marvin Gaye, Earl King,Chubby Checker, and Hank Ballard. He also made other solo records for labels like Wand and Bell.
He earned the nickname the "Creole Chameleon" from New Orleans music historian Jeff Hannusch for his ability to stay up with musical trends. " I liked rock ‘n’ roll. I was the only black guy at the Beatles concert at City Park, it was like a fly in a bowl of soup" Moore told Y'at Magazine in an interview. Whether kicking out Hendrix inspired psychedelic soul with his late 60's era Electric Soul Train band with Art & Cyrille Neville, Jimmy Cliff covers in the early 70's, urban contemporary funk & jazz in the 80's, or Jump Blues in the recent swing revival of the late 1990's and early 2000's, Deacon John Moore is an all around musician and consummate performer.
His 2003 DVD/CD concert film "Deacon John’s Jump Blues", shot on 35mm and HD is undoubtedly the peak of his 40 year run, and the ever humble John told interviewer Dan Gilbert before it's release, "Why me? I guess all the rest of the cats are dead, I outlived the competition!" The DVD features historical documentary interviews and concert footage of Moore alongside contemporaries like Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, Wardell Quezergue, The Zion Harmonizers and his hot jump blues band that includes such members as Herlin Riley on drums, Carl Blouin, Sr, on baritone; Amadee Castenell and Joseph Saulsbury on tenor; Julius Handy on alto; Jeffery Albert and Jerome Verges, Jr. on trombone; and Bernard Floyd and Brian Murray on trumpets.
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