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Delta Deep: Delta Deep

Star-studded, female-fronted blues side-project from Def Leppard man.

Initiated in casual sessions at home between Def Leppard’s Phil Collen and singer Debbi Blackwell-Cook (also godmother to Collen’s wife), Delta Deep has grown into a far more formidable proposition than its casual origins suggested.

Heavyweight pals David Coverdale and Joe Elliott add rasp and ballast, the erstwhile Deep Purple swordsman proving a surprisingly effective foil for Blackwell-Cook on classic Stax duet Private Number. Underpinned by a blues-funky, rock-solid rhythm section (augmented by guesting Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook), Delta Deep spurs all participants to reach parts their day jobs don’t always allow.

Whether mean and dirty or lyrical and eloquent, Collen’s axework exults in the chemistry provided by the soulful resilience and feral heat of Blackwell-Cook’s vocal. Impressive originals (notably the raucous slam-down of Burnt Sally) stand strong alongside judiciously chosen covers, ensuring a hugely invigorating and highly enjoyable departure.

Late NME, Daily Mirror and Classic Rock writer Gavin Martin started writing about music in 1977 when he published his hand-written fanzine Alternative Ulster in Belfast. He moved to London in 1980 to become the NME’s Media Editor and features writer, where he interviewed the Sex Pistols, Joe Strummer, Pete Townshend, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Ian Dury, Killing Joke, Neil Young, REM, Sting, Marvin Gaye, Leonard Cohen, Nina Simone, James Brown, Willie Nelson, Willie Dixon, Madonna and a host of others. He was also published in The Times, Guardian, Independent, Loaded, GQ and Uncut, he had pieces on Michael Jackson, Van Morrison and Frank Sinatra featured in The Faber Book Of Pop and Rock ’N’ Roll Is Here To Stay, and was the Daily Mirror’s regular music critic from 2001. He died in 2022.