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John "Deacon" Moore

Rhythm and blues musician John Moore, commonly known as Deacon John, was born on June 23, 1941 to Frank P. Moore, a bricklayer, and Augustine Boudreaux, a homemaker and musician, in the 8th Ward of New Orleans, La. One of thirteen children, Moore was raised in a musical family. He received vocal training in his church choir; he sang in his first R&B band in middle school. Moore bought his first guitar at a pawnshop on Canal Street, and learned how to play it from the instruction books and records he purchased. Moore played in high school with various pickup bands as a singer and guitarist.

After playing for several years, Moore joined a musical group called the Ivories with Roger Lewis of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. It was there that he picked up the nickname "Deacon," a term that drummer Al Miller tagged him with from a line in the song "Good Rockin' Tonight" by Roy Brown: "Deacon John and Elder Brown, two of the slickest cats in town ...” In 1960, Moore re-established the musical group the Ivories under the name Deacon John & the Ivories. Eventually they became the house band at the legendary Dew Drop Inn, backing up famous musicians like Bobby Blue Bland, Little Junior Parker, Arthur Prysock and Big Joe Turner. At the Dew Drop, Allen Toussaint discovered Moore and led him to the recording studio, where Moore began playing the guitar on R&B hits like Irma Thomas' "Ruler of My Heart," Aaron Neville's "Tell It Like It Is," Robert Parker's "Barefootin'," Ernie K-Doe's "Mother-in-Law," Chris Kenner's "Land of 1,000 Dances," and Lee Dorsey's "Working in the Coal Mine." In 1970, Moore performed at the first New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and has performed at each annual festival since.

In 2000, Moore was inducted into the Louisiana Blues Hall of Fame, and in 2003 he starred in Deacon John's Jump Blues, a CD and DVD tribute to New Orleans R&B, for which he earned the 2003 Offbeat music magazine award for Album of the Year. Gambit magazine awarded him three awards that year as well. In 2005, Moore performed at the Congressional Ball at the White House and in 2006, he starred in the critically acclaimed documentary, Going Back to New Orleans: The Deacon John Film. On July 25, 2006, Moore became the first African American president of New Orleans Musicians Union Local 174-496 of the American Federation of Musicians (AFM). Just one year later, Moore closed the inauguration of Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, performing “God Bless America” accompanied by the 156th Army Band and a Navy fly-over of jets. Later that year, Moore was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

John Moore was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 11, 2010.

Accession Number

A2010.040

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/8/2010

Last Name

Moore

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

"Deacon"

Occupation
Schools

Corpus Christi Elementary School

St. Augustine High School

University of New Orleans

First Name

John

Birth City, State, Country

New Orleans

HM ID

MOO14

Favorite Season

Christmas

State

Louisiana

Favorite Vacation Destination

Caribbean

Favorite Quote

It Ain't Easy In The Big Easy.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Louisiana

Interview Description
Birth Date

6/23/1941

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

New Orleans

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Seafood

Short Description

Musician and singer John "Deacon" Moore (1941 - ) , commonly known as Deacon John, lead the musical group Deacon John & the Ivories and in 2008 was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.

Employment

Deacon John & the Ivories

Favorite Color

Blue

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DAStories

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638812">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of John "Deacon" Moore's interview</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638813">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - John "Deacon" Moore lists his favorites</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638814">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - John "Deacon" Moore describes his father's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638815">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - John "Deacon" Moore describes his father's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638816">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - John "Deacon" Moore describes his father's family background, pt. 3</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638817">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - John "Deacon" Moore describes his mother's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638818">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - John "Deacon" Moore describes his mother's upbringing</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638819">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - John "Deacon" Moore remembers his upbringing in New Orleans, Louisiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638820">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - John "Deacon" Moore talks about his Creole family's complexions</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638821">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - John "Deacon" Moore lists his siblings</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638822">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - John "Deacon" Moore describes how his parents met</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638823">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - John "Deacon" Moore remembers his neighborhoods in New Orleans, Louisiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638824">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - John "Deacon" Moore describes his earliest childhood memories</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638825">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - John "Deacon" Moore remembers the choir at Corpus Christi Elementary School in New Orleans, Louisiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638826">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - John "Deacon" Moore recalls his mother's encouragement</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638827">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - John "Deacon" Moore remembers St. Augustine High School in New Orleans, Louisiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638828">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - John "Deacon" Moore recalls his early exposure to secular music</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638829">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - John "Deacon" Moore remembers teaching himself to play guitar, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638830">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - John "Deacon" Moore remembers teaching himself to play guitar, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638831">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - John "Deacon" Moore recalls his musical activities at St. Augustine High School in New Orleans, Louisiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638832">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - John "Deacon" Moore remembers the discipline at St. Augustine High School in New Orleans, Louisiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638833">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - John "Deacon" Moore describes his coursework at St. Augustine High School in New Orleans, Louisiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638834">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - John "Deacon" Moore talks about the suppression of the Louisiana Creole language</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638835">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - John "Deacon" Moore remembers Louisiana State University in New Orleans</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638836">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - John "Deacon" Moore recalls his arrest at an integrated party</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638837">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - John "Deacon" Moore recalls his coursework at Louisiana State University in New Orleans</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638838">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - John "Deacon" Moore recalls his first marriage</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638839">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - John "Deacon" Moore recalls joining the American Federation of Musicians</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638840">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - John "Deacon" Moore describes the history of the American Federation of Musicians in New Orleans, Louisiana, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638841">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - John "Deacon" Moore describes the history of the American Federation of Musicians in New Orleans, Louisiana, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638842">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - John "Deacon" Moore talks about the segregated pay scale for musicians</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638843">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - John "Deacon" Moore recalls a conflict within the American Federation of Musicians Local 174-496, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638844">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - John "Deacon" Moore recalls a conflict within the American Federation of Musicians Local 174-496, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638845">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - John "Deacon" Moore describes the origin of his stage name, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638846">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - John "Deacon" Moore describes the origin of his stage name, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638847">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - John "Deacon" Moore describes his band's musical genres</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638848">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - John "Deacon" Moore talks about his various jobs in the music industry</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638849">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - John "Deacon" Moore talks about his work as a recording studio musician</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638850">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - John "Deacon" Moore describes his appearances as a commercial actor</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638851">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - John "Deacon" Moore remembers his film and television roles</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638852">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - John "Deacon" Moore talks about the slide guitar</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638853">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - John "Deacon" Moore plays a country blues medley</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638854">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - John "Deacon" Moore plays a Delta blues medley</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638855">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - John "Deacon" Moore describes his experiences as a backup musician</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638856">Tape: 6 Story: 7 - John "Deacon" Moore remembers Curtis Mayfield</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638857">Tape: 6 Story: 8 - John "Deacon" Moore recalls playing with Bo Diddley</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638858">Tape: 6 Story: 9 - John "Deacon" Moore talks about his family</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638859">Tape: 7 Story: 1 - John "Deacon" Moore reflects upon his career</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638860">Tape: 7 Story: 2 - John "Deacon" Moore remembers performing at the White House in Washington, D.C.</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638861">Tape: 7 Story: 3 - John "Deacon" Moore talks about 'Deacon John's Jump Blues'</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638862">Tape: 7 Story: 4 - John "Deacon" Moore remembers Hurricane Katrina</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638863">Tape: 7 Story: 5 - John "Deacon" Moore describes his board memberships</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638864">Tape: 7 Story: 6 - John "Deacon" Moore reflects upon his legacy</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638865">Tape: 7 Story: 7 - John "Deacon" Moore reflects upon his experiences of discrimination in the music industry, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638866">Tape: 7 Story: 8 - John "Deacon" Moore reflects upon his experiences of discrimination in the music industry, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638867">Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Robert "Deacon" Moore talks about the racial demographics of his bands</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638868">Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Robert "Deacon" Moore describes the discrimination against black musicians</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638869">Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Robert "Deacon" Moore remembers a conflict at Tipitina's nightclub in New Orleans, Louisiana</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638870">Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Robert "Deacon" Moore shares his advice for aspiring musicians, pt. 1</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638871">Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Robert "Deacon" Moore shares his advice for aspiring musicians, pt. 2</a>

<a href="https://da.thehistorymakers.org/story/638872">Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Robert "Deacon" Moore narrates his photographs</a>

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$6

DAStory

3$4

DATitle
John "Deacon" Moore remembers teaching himself to play guitar, pt. 1
John "Deacon" Moore plays a country blues medley
Transcript
And with the exposure to live bands, you know. Whenever I would go to one of these high school dances, something like a magnet just drew me to the guitar players. Man, I was just fascinated by the guitar players. I'd--most of the whole night I'd just sit right--stand up right in front of the stage watching the guitar players. Something 'bout them guitar players, you know, 'cause most of the people in my family are string players, you know. And I didn't know anything about genetics at all those things, you know. But you know, I was probably genetically programmed, you know, to be a guitar player 'cause my [maternal] grandfather [John Boudreaux] was a banjo player. My mother [Rilda Augustine Boudreaux Moore] was a piano player, and my oldest sister [Consuela Moore Provost] played the viola and the violin. So, I grew up in a musical environment. My mother kept a piano around the house and she'd sing and play the piano. But once I saw the live bands, you know, I was hooked, you know. So, at about that time is when Elvis [Elvis Presley] came out, and it was some people out on the street, you know, he bought, his daddy bought him a guitar so he could be like Elvis. And so, I used to borrow his guitar and take it home and try to pick out little melodies on it. My mother had a ukulele around the house and I would try to pick out melodies on it that I heard on the radio. And I'd go to the piano and try to, you know, do things with the piano. And then, you know, I decided, you know, that I wanna be a guitar player. At the time, I was in high school [St. Augustine High School, New Orleans, Louisiana]. I had been singing, you know, with a little band when I was in elementary school, middle school [Corpus Christi Elementary School, New Orleans, Louisiana]. But when I got to high school, I just became fascinated with the guitar. So, I had a little job, you know, on Saturdays, stock boy in the grocery store and delivering groceries on a bicycle. I made $2.25 a day, plus my little tips, you know, so. I'd saved up my little money and then had another job. I used to go during the week, after school, and deliver pharmaceuticals, you know. People call in prescriptions, send a dude out on a bicycle, you know, with the prescription and people would give you a little tip. I used to make nine dollars a week, so. I saved my little money up and I went down to the pawn shop with my oldest sister and bought me a guitar (laughter). And I went to the local music store, World Lines [ph.], and bought some instructional books on how to play the guitar.$You're gonna (playing guitar). That's for tuning like a country blues setting, you know. (Playing guitar and singing), "I'm going down to Louisiana, I gonna get me a mojo hand. I'm going down to Louisiana, I'm gonna get me a mojo hand. I'm gonna fix my woman so she can't have no other man. Cold ground was my bed last night, rocks was my pillow too. Cold ground was my bed last night, rocks was my pillow too. I woke up this morning, I was wondering what in the world am I gonna do? But I laid down thinking, buy me a mojo hand. I laid down thinking, buy me a mojo hand. I just wanna fix my woman so, she can't have no other man. Now, we're gonna boogie woogie, now. Oh, let's boogie. I'm gonna boogie for the doctor. I'm gonna boogie for the nurse. I'm gonna keep on boogieing 'til they roll me in the hearse. I got the boogie, the boogie woogie disease. Come here doctor. Give me a shot of that penicillin. Oh, keep on boogieing. You know my mama didn't allow me to stay out all night long. My mama didn't allow me. Just to stay out all night long. But I don't care what mama don't allow. I'm gonna boogie woogie anyhow. Oh, let's boogie now." Now, this is the country blues (laughter).