This is no vanity project, Collen says, “Blues was created out of something completely different from what we hear today. I grew up listening to rock music but then I found out it was all based on blues. Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, all of those guys….they got it from blues. Today’s musicians miss out on what blues is completely about. There’s a type of ‘blues style’ but not actual blues music. I just don’t hear true blues anymore unless I go back and listen to really old music.” So Delta Deep was formed to turn the tide!
Delta Deep is definitely blues with soul and the power of rock often a cousin of the blues in the approach to riffs and licks form a guitar, and that of Def Leppard’s, Phil Collen gives the whole album shape and form as the textures change the power remains to combine this with the soulful voice of Debbie Blackwell-Cook, who has understandably been described as “one part Aretha (Franklin) one part Chaka (Khan) two parts Led Zepplin”. Then scattered through the album are other special guests who add to the shape and form Delta Deep will never bore.
The foot stomping hill country rocking romp opens the album and you want to Bang The Lid the vocals and guitar are in perfect harmony and you just have to clap your hands as the music drives on and the story unfolds. This is a Blackwell-Cooke number where she tries to get there and back but still be an independent woman; with a gospel getting you, you just want to hear more. The tempo changes in an ode to Whiskey, her voice is sultry and the drumming and guitar gently accompanies and in a jazz infused blues calms the heat down. Completing the opening set of tracks is Down in The Delta that always informs me if this is an album I want to listen to; and there is no doubt I am hooked and what to explore the depths of the music that is being so cleverly shaped and formed. Back to rock guitar this is a track that will “make a grown man weep” yes the guitar weeps and raises the heat but it is the lyrics, the key to any great blues number, that paint a lyrical picture of heat, grime and back breaking misery that has shaped the Delta Deep. Again Debbie’s vocals curl and shape the emotions of every cry and word as the drums and cymbals pull the gospel together.
Now it is time for a duet not of two guitars but Phil & Debbie in You Treat Her Like Candy as the tempo becomes more mainstream and the story less intense it is like a sweet breather before you are assaulted with the power, glory and raw emotions that combine on so many of the tracks. This combination of vocal tones works so well and is repeated on Miss Me, Private Number with David Coverdale and Mistreated.
Half way through and we have fusion music that shapes tones around the heart of the blues with keys and guitar licks that reflects the tears and pain of Burnt Sally. As you would expect rock features heavily on the album, as the next trio of power blues show, Shuffle Sweet the drum opener by the talented Forrest Robinson, picks up the speed and the vocals and guitar have a driving urgency, with a catchy chorus that would have a live audience participating through sheer joy of the music. The second in the trio, Black Coffee is a tribute to the power of coffee and passions that run hot the guitar zings and the rhythms are deep; followed on by Feel It with vocals that have a granite edge reflecting the guitar and bass line provided by Robert DeLeo, has a funky edge to the rock so like the rest of the album no track is a repetition of beat, tempo or its approach to the blues.
The last track. The longest at eight minutes is an anthem to the whole album drawing together the hard-rock of Def Leppard and plaiting it around the blues so the vocals and guitar wail with the agony of life’s experience and the collective history of a music that lies deep in the hardship of the Delta.
This is a blues album that weaves in music styles that owe their heritage to the blues, soul, rock n’ roll, heavy rock, funk and jazz this is family tree of music styles, that is rooted in and reaches deep down into the spirit, pain and heat of the Delta. The lyrics are strong the guitar playing is mesmerizing and the production is raw, Delta Deep will spill out of your speakers and ooze through srteaming music into your music brains musical discography as an album to listen to again and again.
Bluesdoodles gives this CD TEN doodle paws out of TEN ….
Delta Deep – Independent
- Bang The Lid
- Down In The Delta
- Treat Her Like Candy
- Miss Me
- Burnt Sally
- Private Number
- Shuffle Sweet
- Black Coffee
- Feel It
And here is a taster of the opening track