Moore, Butch (James Augustine) (1938–2001), singer and musician, was born 10 January 1938 in Dublin, one of four sons and one daughter of Thomas Moore, of 538 North Circular Road, a parliamentary usher in Leinster House who rose to become head usher, and Nora Moore (née Fay). Educated at the O'Connell schools, as a boy soprano in the school choir he sang on Radio Éireann music programmes. The family later moved to Glasnevin. He received his nickname as a youth owing to his supposed resemblance to a character in a popular Hollywood film. For three years from age fifteen he performed in hospitals and at charitable functions with Jomac Productions, then sang briefly with the Radio Éireann light orchestra. On leaving school at eighteen he worked for several years as an apprentice printer with the Powell Press, Parliament Street, while singing semi-professionally in small clubs and dancehalls with Dublin-based bands the Melochords and the Blue Clavons. Enjoying wider exposure during a year as vocalist with the resident Billy Carter band at Dublin's National Ballroom (1960), he introduced pop numbers into Carter's big-band repertoire. Late in 1960 he was recruited by Des Kelly, a Galway-born third-year University College Dublin (UCD) agricultural student, as lead singer and rhythm guitarist with a new eight-piece combination, the Capitol Showband. Exploiting the brassy, buoyant ‘showband’ sound and style pioneered by the Clipper Carlton fronted by Hugo Quinn (qv), the Capitol evolved an eclectic mix of Dixieland jazz, country, up-tempo ballad adaptations, covers of chart hits, and original pop numbers, the latter chiefly written by Queen's University of Belfast (QUB) student Phil Coulter, who also assisted with arrangements. With the handsome, genial Moore as their headliner, the Capitol, after turning fully professional in 1961, were one of the leading groups in Ireland during the showband heyday of the mid 1960s, playing to packed dancehalls throughout the country, and producing a succession of top ten singles. In 1963 they became the first showband to appear on Irish television, the first Irish showband to record an LP, and the first to be broadcast on Radio Luxembourg, where they did a twelve-week series. They twice toured America, backed Roy Orbison at the London Palladium (1964), then returned to the Palladium to headline the widely popular regular Sunday night ITV broadcast (January 1965). Rivalling the Royal Showband of Brendan Bowyer as Ireland's most popular combination, the Capitol – whose horn section included Don Long (trombone), Bram McCarthy (trumpet), and Paddy Cole (saxophone and clarinet) – were regarded as the more adept musically, while the Royal were acclaimed for the excitement of their stage show. After winning the national song contest in 1965 with ‘Walking the streets in the rain’ – which followed two tunes recorded with the Capitol to become his third straight no. 1 hit – Moore was the first person to represent Ireland in the Eurovision song contest, then in its tenth season. Placed sixth out of eighteen contestants in Naples, he returned to levels of media coverage, fan hysteria, and celebrity unprecedented for an Irish popular entertainer. Ireland's ‘first pop glamour boy’ (Ir. Examiner, 5 April 2001), in 1966 Moore departed the Capitol to pursue a solo career, which rapidly foundered through misguided efforts to launch a cabaret act, followed by a lacklustre return to the showband circuit. Moore married (1962) Nora Sheridan; they had two daughters and one son, and lived in Finglas, Co. Dublin. The marriage broke up in the late 1960s.
Broke and disillusioned, Moore emigrated to the USA in 1970 with folk-singer Maeve Mulvany (1945–2004). With a middle-ground repertoire of easy-listening pop songs and Irish ballads, as the duo Butch and Maeve they performed from Maine to Texas in concert halls, and at Irish clubs and music festivals, playing both Carnegie Hall, NY, and the Kennedy centre, Washington, DC. After marrying (1977), Moore and Mulvany had two sons and one daughter. Settling in central Massachusetts, they gradually reduced touring to accommodate their growing family, but continued to perform locally, and for eight years hosted a weekly Irish-interest radio show. Moore returned to Ireland in 1984 for the Capitol Showband's month-long reunion tour. After owning and operating a nightclub in Millbury, Mass. (1985–90), he was chief deputy sheriff of Worcester county, Mass. (1990–2001). Forthright and disingenuous in press interviews at the peak of his stardom, Moore was remembered for his soft and gentle nature, qualities for which balladeer Luke Kelly (qv) once described him as ‘the first real flower person in Ireland’ (quoted in Hardy, 54). Days after being diagnosed with cancer of the oesophagus, he died of heart failure at his home in Sutton, Massachusetts, USA, on 3 April 2001; his remains were interred in Dardistown cemetery, Cloghran, Co. Dublin.