Born Healer – The Cavern Freehouse Raynes Park, 13 June 2024

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Review and photos from Tim Marcus

I was back at The Cavern in Raynes Park on Thursday of last week to see one of my favourite blues rock bands, Born Healer. It’s been around seven months since I last saw them here so tonight was both overdue and welcome. If ever the phrase “blues power” was invented for anyone it was for these guys

The evening provided us with two sets comprising of tracks from the bands first two albums, “’Til The Dawn” and Herbs, Roots, Barks Etc”, some excellent covers and also a brand new song.

The band is fronted by the powerful voice of Helen Turner. Powerful yet controlled; strong yet melodic. She has often in the past been compared by many, including myself, to Janice Joplin and to hear her sing you can understand why. In certain songs, traces of her Glaswegian accent come through, adding just a little gruffness to her sound; a quality that blends perfectly with the power. Add to that a little bit of Aretha style soul and you have the perfect vocal with which to front this band. She’s joined stage right by partner and fellow Scot, Iain Black on guitar. It’s a joy to watch and listen to Iain play; there’s such a soulful tone and touch to his playing. Behind Helen and stage left is the rhythm section comprising bass player, Marek Funkas and drummer, Steve Weaver, whose playing provides the platform on which Iain and Helen are able to express themselves.

They Kick things off with “Grievin’” from their last album and follow that up with “Silver Girl” and “Share of Trouble” before Helen gives a powerful vocal performance on their first cover of the evening, the classic, “Black Coffee”

The show continues and includes one of my favourite tracks from Born Healer, the title track from their 2016 debut album “Til The Dawn”. There’s more covers too as we hear Born Healer’s take on the Rolling Stones’ “Tumbling Dice”

The blend of covers and originals continues into the second half of the show and includes a song for me that is the perfect vehicle for demonstrating the controlled power in Helen’s vocal, Led Zeppelin’s “Since I’ve Been Loving You”. Amongst the originals we then hear are a brand new song, “Work Song” and another of my favourite tracks, different versions of which have appeared on both of the band’s albums (my personal preference is for the more recent one), “River”, which closes their 2022 album, “Herbs, Roots, Barks, Etc”. Tonight’s show is brought to a close with a Led Zeppelin melody, which is centred around “Whole Lotta Love”, with Iain getting it underway with a very funky and refreshing take on Jimmy Page’s opening chords.

And of course the end isn’t really the end as we get an encore from the band who deliver a great version of a song probably better known from the era of 70s disco, “I can’t Stand The Rain”; again another song the demonstrates the power, versatility and control in Helen’s vocal.

All in all, another great night at the Cavern with one of my favourite bands, whom I’m pleased to see are already booked in for a return visit in the autumn

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