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Delta Deep - East Coast Live album review

Def Leppard guitarist his spots

Cover art for Delta Deep - East Coast Live album

Heavy rock has been stealing from the blues for half a century, so it is surprising how few major players have chosen to repay the debt as explicitly as Phil Collen. Agreeably raw, loud and sloppy, the Def Leppard guitarist’s “extreme blues” project Delta Deep also features Stone Temple Pilots bassist Robert DeLeo and seasoned Memphis drummer Forrest Robinson. But it is largely an amped-up showcase for turbo-tonsilled vocalist Debbi Blackwell-Cook (who also happens to be godmother to Collen’s wife Helen).

The band’s 2015 debut studio album has just been reissued, but this live CD/DVD captures them in their natural habitat as lusty, shouty, interactive stage performers. Freed from the constrictions of a conventional rock band, Collen veers from simmering swamp-blues to pulverising funk-metal while Blackwell-Cook issues sassy orders to the audience: “We wanna see movement, we wanna see attitude, we wanna see fun!” The default 12-bar format drags in places, but Black Dog and Bang The Lid are hard to beat for sweat-drenched, room shaking raunch, while the doo-wop-leaning duet Treat Her Like Candy adds much-needed emotional shading to what might have been a narrow-focus vanity project.

Stephen Dalton has been writing about all things rock for more than 30 years, starting in the late Eighties at the New Musical Express (RIP) when it was still an annoyingly pompous analogue weekly paper printed on dead trees and sold in actual physical shops. For the last decade or so he has been a regular contributor to Classic Rock magazine. He has also written about music and film for Uncut, Vox, Prog, The Quietus, Electronic Sound, Rolling Stone, The Times, The London Evening Standard, Wallpaper, The Film Verdict, Sight and Sound, The Hollywood Reporter and others, including some even more disreputable publications.