Deacon John Moore is a New Orleans institution who has yet to gain
national recognition despite his forty-plus years as a guitarist and
performing artist with a fervent local following. Born and bred from
the same musical roux that produced such R&B luminaries as Fats
Domino, Huey "Piano" Smith, Smiley Lewis and Irma Thomas,
Deacon John has been a mainstay in the Crescent City since a very early
As a young man Deacon spent nights cutting his chops at the legendary
Dew Drop Inn and his days in the studio as part of Allen Toussaintís
recording band, playing guitar on such notable tunes as Ernie K-Doeís
"Mother in Law," Lee Dorseyís "Workiní in a Coal Mine"
and Irma Thomasí "Ruler of My Heart." In fact, the only
thing separating Deacon John from the list of all-time R&B greats
is the missing ingredient of a hit record of his own.
As the years passed, Deacon John continued to stun audiences throughout
the New Orleans area with his wicked slide guitar playing but shied
away from entering the studio as a session leader. In fact, the only
real opportunity afforded out-of-towners to witness the raw power of
a Deacon John show was at the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage
But now it is time for all to rise and celebrate the music of Deacon
John, who has finally come forth with a stunning example of his finest
work on the Redbone CD, Live at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage
Festival. Recorded by WWOZ Radio at the 1994 JazzFest, this live
effort showcases Deacís full command of the blues idiom. His song choices
range from scorching Elmore James numbers like "Shake Your Money
Maker" and the tour-de-force "Happy Home" to Jimmy
Rogersí "Thatís Alright" to B.B. Kingís soulful "You
Upset Me Baby" and exhibit the Deaconís uncanny ability to summon
up the spirits of blues legends past and present.
Deacon John plays with strength and emotion, skillfully retaining the
integrity of the original performers while turning each cut on this
record into a personal musical statement of his own. Although the selections
here are taken from the standard blues repertoire, Deacís influences
are wide and varied, and their inflections all show up on this recording
to produce a poweful blues album nicely funked up with that unique New
With this recording Deacon John has given the blues world reason to
recognize him as one of the hottest performers alive today, bar none.
Club-owners and festival producers here and abroad would be well advised
to give this disc a spin.
ó Bill Taylor