Delta Deep is four kindred spirits bound by a proclivity for blues, funk, rock, and soul. The chemistry of these talents, with their array of musical facets, shines on their self-titled debut. Out front is lead singer Debbi Blackwell-Cook (Michael Buble, Luther Vandross) whose earthy vocal brilliance is irresistible.
Bassist Robert DeLeo (Stone Temple Pilots) and drummer Forrest Robinson (Joe Sample) join forces on the bottom end, providing rhythm and grooves that transition from jazzy to full-throttle rock and roll.
Guitarist Phil Collen (Def Leppard, Manraze) is the band’s other singer, both as lead vocal as well as accompanying Cook. The intonation and power of this duo is astounding. Collen’s guitar playing flaunts aspects of his repertoire, which are rarely, if ever, heard in Def Leppard. Yet his trademark scream and growl show up in the title track and the driving rocker, “Shuffle Sweet”. In “Whiskey” he kicks out a supernatural guitar solo reminiscent of Jeff Beck circa Blow by Blow. Does Papa’s have a brand new bag, or has he just been stashing it all this time?
“Burnt Sally” showcases each player, with a nod to many of the blues greats. Specters of B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Gary Moore, and Jimi Hendrix seem to rise from Collen’s fingers.
“Bang the Lid” is like a secret weapon, in that it reveals a side of Collen’s guitar playing that is rarely, if ever, heard in the Def Leppard catalog.
David Coverdale (Whitesnake, Deep Purple), who sang “Mistreated” on the 1974 Deep Purple classic Burn, sings a stunning duet with Cook on “Private Number.” (Charlie Steffens)
Purchase Delta Deep on iTunes.