007: The genre is steady, rocksteady

007 is the brainchild of Jeffrey "the Houseman" Clemens (drummer for G,Love and Special Sauce), who found one musical stone unturned on the vibrant music scene in his adopted hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana. Knowing that rocksteady is an essential era for fans of Jamaican music, Clemens assembled a band of outstanding local musicians dedicated to celebrating this treasured sliver of 1960s pop music. While ska and reggae are more commonly recognized styles among roots music fans, rocksteady is the crucial link between the two. Emerging in the mid-60s, rocksteady is, in simple terms, ska at half speed, minus the horns, with a prominent bass line. It's the mellow precursor to Bob Marley-style forthright reggae, and its simple vocal harmonies spout lyrics about good times, romance, and the politics of freedom.

Named for Desmond Dekker's 1967 rude boy anthem, 007 was born to revive the well-loved and oft-forgotten songs of rocksteady's very limited heyday (1966-1968). The repertoire includes songs by a host of rocksteady artists such as Dekker, the Jamaicans, Alton Ellis, Delroy Wilson, and Justin Hinds. 007 produces an authentic rocksteady sound, covering these classic tunes in a live setting much like they sound on the original recordings. In spite of their collective affinity for the Jamaican tradition, the band members come from a variety of musical backgrounds. With Clemens singing and anchoring the beat, guitarists Alex McMurray and Jonathan Freilich make up the front line. McMurray is best know as front man for popular New Orleans rock band Royal Fingerbowl. Freilich, a local avant-garde jazz mogul, plays with the New Orleans Klezmer Allstars. The lineup is rounded out by bassist Joe Cabral, who is best known as saxophonist for Tex-Mex outfit the Iguanas. Cabral contributes lead vocals on the best-known rocksteady tune of all time, "The Tide is High," which was originally recorded by the Paragons before Blondie turned it into a #1 hit in 1980.




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Alex McMurray
007 - guitar, vocals

Alex McMurray bas been described in Rolling Stone magazine as "what Tom Waits would sound like if he was from New Orleans". Alex came to New Orleans from New Jersey in 1986 to attend Tulane University, and quickly became involved in the local music scene. He played in the venerated Vince Berman Trio and after graduating joined with Uptown Funk legend Mike Ward and Reward as well as seventh ward rastas Ben Hunter and Crucial Roots.

In the mid 90’s McMurray toured Germany with the Joyful Gospel Singers. Shortly after, he joined the funk band All That, recorded 3 CDs and toured with them. Needing an outlet for his own music, Alex formed Royal Fingerbowl. One of New Orleans most beloved, if eccentric bands, Fingerbowl had a meteoric rise and fall. Signed to TVT records, they released 2 CDs and toured the continent before disbanding.

Almost immediately after he formed the Tin Men with former Fingerbowl bassist and tubist Matt Perrine and blues icon Washboard Chaz. They currently have 2 CDs: 2003’s "Super Great Music for Modern Lovers" and 2005’s "Freaks for Industry". They remain New Orleans’ premier sousaphone/washboard/guitar trio.

In 2000 McMurray started the New Orleans rock steady anomaly 007 with Jeffrey Clemens of G-Love and Special Sauce, Joe Cabral of the Iguanas and Jonathan Freilich, the evil genius responsible for the Naked Orchestra and the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars. They released their CD "Studied Rudeness" in 2004 and are perennial winners in the world music category at the New Orleans Big Easy and Offbeat awards.

Alex McMurray - Supports Nothing





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Jeffrey "House Man" Clemens
007 - drummist, vocals, lead vocals

(In his own words)

Alright, about me...
I was born june 25 1964 in brookline, massachusetts
My dad was a huge buddy rich fan, and my older brother was a killer drummer when I was 9-10 years old... I started playing the drums in 1978 when I was 14.
Let's skip ahead. I played in the world's worst wedding and bar mitzvah band in the history of mankind, from the time I was 16-20 years old.
No, I mean skip further ahead! Ok, I met g.love in 1993, and we had a big fat record deal with epic/sony before the calendar year was up. I've been to hell and back with the guy, but we've been playing together for 12 years...
Oh yeah, and I play drums and sing for this great
Rock Steady outfit out of New Orleans - 007.

G.Love and Special Sauce




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Joe Cabral
007 - bass, vocals, lead vocals

The Iguanas

You can be sure if it's Cabral




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Jonathan Freilich
007 - lead guitar, acoustic guitar, rhythm guitar

Jonathan Freilich was born in Philadelphia, Pensylvania in 1968, and raised in London, England and in Los Angeles, California. After spending a couple of years in Santa Cruz, California and a year floating around, he moved to New Orleans, Louisiana, where he has lived for the past 14 years.

After a childhood stint with the cello he took up guitar at age 15; after some key musical-exposure incidents, he became ridiculously addicted to the instrument. Luckily, New Orleans took him in and offered a few outlets for a large palette of musical desires to take flight.

Currently, Freilich plays in the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars, Los Vecinos, Naked On The Floor, The Naked Orchestra, The Poor Man's Speedball, 007, The Tom Paines, and spot gigs with a few others. Many of the bands are recurring winners of various New Orleans local 'Best Of' awards.

In the past, he has worked with Kermit Ruffins, Mike Ward and the Reward, Mas Mamones, Walter Payton, Frederick Sheppard, The World Accordion to Glenn Hartman, Mark Bingham, Iris May Tango, Gregory Boyd and VOS, The Square Music Band, All That, The 32-20 blues band, The Wild Magnolias, Robbie Robertson, Sam Rivers (in conjunction with the Naked Orchestra), Eric Lindell, and some others.

Freilich also, teaches yoga in New Orleans.

The New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars
The Naked Orchestra




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