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The Proven Ones The Proven Ones
Album: You Ain't Done
Label: Gulf Coast
Tracks: 12

The first couple of minutes of YOU AINT DONE are quite a ride, crackling needle drop, then swirling "Tomorrow Never Knows" styled psychedelics, give way to the taut 1970s Free, Blues assault of "Get Love" and Brian Tempelton's 'gravelly BB King' vocals. "Gone To Stay" is similarly driving, powered by Jimi Bott's beat and Kid Ramos' guitar. Those classy dry Blues brass stabs delivered by Joe Mccarthy and Chris Mercer (who is a direct link back to British Blues Band Chicken Shack) round the raw stomp of "Gone To Stay" and "You Ain't Done". As does the period Organ on the "Start Me Up" era Stones "You Ain't Done". Brian Tempelton is a proper Rock and Blues vocalist, the opposite of a crooner, roaring into the mike at 150%. "Already Gone" with its smooth 50s Freshmen vocal intro cools its down a little, but the honky tonk piano and dirty guitar, means it's only a little. The band can bring down the volume without loosing the heat, stripping right back in the middle to then turn up the gas in an inventive way. Ruthie Foster guests with a superb soulful vocal on "Whom My Soul Loves" bringing out the best from a duetting Templeton and a powerful Tenor break from Mercer. This track really smoulders with that Muscle Shoals humid Soul Blues. "Milinda" and "She'll Never Know" are more of the quiet storm tracks with sharp guitar, tastefully smooth vocal and great brass, tapping straight into that BB King Robert Cray soulful groove. "Nothing Left To Give" adds a little infectious Abraxas Santana percussive sparkle to The Proven Ones intelligent sophisticated blues rock, with both Brian's vocal and Kid's guitar delivering. Kid Ramos then serves up a great folk blues vocal on the self deprecating "I Ain't Good For Nothing", Templeton moans on the harmonica and the band goes to New Orleans. "Fallen" and "Favourite Dress" turn the heat back up with some of that 70s Faces, Stones classic Rock Strum und Drang. Anthony Geraci's piano does its Dr John twinkles and ripples, Kid's guitar dances and everybody has a great time.

The Proven Ones' members are drawn from bands like The Fabulous Thunderbird, The Radio King's, The Mannish Boys and Sugar Ray and the Bluetones. With credits on hundreds of recordings between them, they are the musical equivalent of wear and patina on a Stratocaster neck or a snare drum skin. The cover says garage wall graphic, or old T shirt, the band look like they sleep in their boots and dark glasses, they walk the walk, it's not retro, it's deep rooted and informed by experience, proving the band's moniker is earned not an affectation.

Marc Higgins