Live at 1994 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival
Deacon John is a true talent. And a showman of the highest caliber. When the Deacon decides it's time to take you to the church of New Orleans blues and R&B... gentlemen take your hats off, and ladies put your hats on, and hold on to them tight! Cuz baby... listen to me now... he's gonna make the wind blow, make you shout and shimmy and shake yo' money maker! Deacon John carries on the musical legacy of his family and the musical heritage of New Orleans, Louisiana and the Mississippi Delta; the sounds of Memphis soul and Texas swing. His music and his performances reflect and convey a knowledge, understanding and deep respect for historical and regional musical influences. His music encompasses elements of gospel, traditional jazz, and New Orleans rhythm and blues. And when he gets down to the blues... The meanest slide guitar since Elmore James and Robert Johnson roamed the Delta. Often described as New Orleans' best kept secret, Deacon John is the unsung hero of New Orleans blues and R&B. In those heady New Orleans R&B years of the late fifties and early sixties Deacon John recorded as part of Allen Toussaint's Minit Records studio band on such memorable hits as 'Mother-in-Law,' 'Lipstick Traces,' 'Ruler of My Heart,' 'Fortune Teller,' 'I Like It Like That,' 'Land of a Thousand Dances,' 'Ride Your Pony,' 'Workin' in a Coal Mine,' Robert Parker's 'Barefootin',' Aaron Neville's 'Tell It Like It Is,' and the list goes on. During those seminal years, Deacon John and his band, The Ivories, performed regularly at such legendary New Orleans clubs as the Dew Drop Inn, the Pimlico Club, the Hi-Hat, Club Tijuana and Club Desire. They performed at the big dance halls like the Blue Eagle, the San Jacinto and the Les Jeunes Amis, the ILA Hall on Claiborne Avenue, the old Laborers Union Hall and the Wonderful Boys Hall. Deacon John came up with, and was influenced during those years by, those within the talented legendary circle of New Orleans guitar players like Earl King, Prince La Pa, Papoose Nelson, Roy Montrell, Snooks Eaglin, George Davis, Edgar Blanchard and Justin Adams. Deacon John and the Ivories claim as alumni such well-known and noted musicians as Sammy Berfect, Willie Tee, Earl Turbinton, Zigaboo Modeliste, James Booker, James Black, James Rivers and the Neville Brothers. In the years since, Deacon John has attained a certain special brand of legendary status and has become a household name in the shotgun houses, and more than a few mansions, throughout the parishes of Louisiana. Blues and old school R&B fans turn out in droves for his rare club performances in New Orleans, and for good reason. Deacon John is a formidable and respected band leader with a commanding stage presence and a musical versatility that goes far beyond that of many more well-known artists in the music world. Deacon John's New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival performances over the years since the Festival's beginnings in 1969 have brought him an international cult following, though not household name status beyond the parishes of Louisiana and the Gulf South. This CD, a live recording of one of those unforgettable Jazz Fest performances, was recorded at the 1994 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, and is a living testament to the musical genius that is Deacon John. When Deacon John drops to his knees, looks toward the heavens and slides that green glass bottleneck up and down the neck of his Gibson guitar, the spirits of blues gone by are present and living once again. --Sally Stevens.