Photos by Arnie Goodman
Delta Deep brings Phil Collen, lead guitarist of Def Leppard, back to his royal roots: Albert, B.B. and Freddie King. It also ties into the generation of blues guitarists who initially turned Phil Collen onto the blues, players like Rory Gallagher, Steve Marriott, Peter Green, Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page. The all-star band is made up of Robert DeLeo on bass (Stone Temple Pilots), Forrest Robinson (Joe Sample & the Crusaders) on drums and on vocals Debbi Blackwell Cook. They all mesh together like stew of Ike and Tina Turner and Humble Pie with a little bit of Bobby Rush thrown in.
The majority of their live set comes from their current self-titled album, Delta Deep, now out on Mailboat Records. Some of the highlights were “Bang The Lid,” which got the audience into the show, “Whisky,” Shuffle Sweet,” “Down in The Delta,” “Mistreated” and my favorite of the night, Ike and Tina Turner’s “Black Coffee;” Delta Deep performed a version which would have impressed longtime Humble Pie vocalist Steve Marriott, who had a hit with the song.
Colllen did his homework with Delta Deep, integrating his own quality into an authentic roots sound that is raw and natural. Hopefully, Collen keeps building upon Delta Deep in the upcoming years, where there is a lot of potential to turn his many fans on to the blues. Phil Collen is doing his job in “Saving American Music”