The Laying On of Hands by DELTA DEEP

DELTA DEEP: Self-titled

By Antiem Boyd

Photo: Helen J. Collen

DEEP DELTA: Phil Collen, Debbi Blackwell-Cook, Forrest Robinson, Robert DeLeo              Photo: Helen J. Collen

If something feels familiar about this deeply soulful blues and rock record, it’s because you are probably a Def Leppard fan and would know Phil Collen’s imprint anywhere. With DELTA DEEP’S self-titled debut album, Collen has brought together legends and blues, rock, and soul aficionados to create a superb record for purists and music fans who want to know what the blues are really about.

With all of his years as lead guitarist for Def Leppard and his other band MANRAZE, Collen could be at home right now just being a musical badass. But he’s a real musician who loves and understands blues deeply and intrinsically. “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,” Collen says.

DELTA DEEP feels effortless probably because besides crafting immensely satisfying tracks, the majority with his wife Helen, Collen knows how to pick the right artists, the best rooms for production, and the right message. Not one part of DELTA DEEP is an accident. That’s not to say that there’s not a sense of spontaneity, especially in the duets between Collen and Blackwell-Cook. Rock and blues, made for each other.

The Collens, Robert DeLeo, and Forrest Robinson created a world that we want to go to and Debbi Blackwell-Cook brings it on home. On top of the combined decades of experience, the cohesiveness is steeped in the mutual respect and closeness of the band members. You can feel that as a listener. When a group is truly connected on many levels, you are stepping into a private space and are part of the experience. That intimacy is the power behind DELTA DEEP.

Music is always a personal journey. It serves to carve out a path to an opportunity, an escape route to freedom, and a way to change the psychological landscape of the times. These artists had their own journeys that spill over into the music, making it authentic. You could be a neighborhood joint in Mississippi or a club in LA or Tokya, DELTA DEEP showcases the kind of blues and rock that transcends the location and unites listeners from all walks of life.

DELTA DEEP  is an excellent debut record and we hope there are many more. Collen might need to understand that he’s part of a rare group of musicians who want to keep the blues alive. And he has the skill and influence to share it with a wider audience. He probably does.


“Bang the Lid”

Phil Collen: All guitars, lead vocals (Def Leppard, MANRAZE)
Robert DeLeo: Bass guitars (Stone Temple Pilots)
Forrest Robinson: Drums/percussion(TLC, India.Arie, Engelbert Humperdinck, Joe Sample & The Crusaders)
Debbi Blackwell-Cook: Lead vocals (background singer WITH Luther Vandross, FOR Michael Buble’ and the late Gregory Hines among others.)

Special guests:
David Coverdale (Whitesnake)
Joe Elliott (Def Leppard)
Paul Cook (Sex Pistols)
Simon Laffy (GIRL)
CJ Vanston (Toto, Tina Tuner, Joe Cocker, Carol King, Barbara Streisand, Dolly Parton)

DELTA DEEP Production:
All album songs produced by Phil Collen
Except for ‘Black Coffee’, ‘Private Number’, & ‘Mistreated’ all album tracks are written by Phil Collen, Helen L. Collen, and Debbi Blackwell-Cook
Songs mixed and mastered by Ronan McHugh -Engineered by Russ Fowler/Additional engineering Phil Collen, Ryan Williams, Rob Elfaizy
Recorded at Phil’s Sweat Shop (Ca), Robert DeLeo’s Homefry Studio (Ca), Stage ONE Recording Studios (Laguna Hills, Ca)
Mixed at Joe’s Garage (Dublin, Ireland)

Album artwork concept/design/photography: Helen L. Collen

DELTA DEEP Tracklisting:
1. Bang The Lid
2. Whiskey
3. Down In The Delta
4. Treat Her Like Candy
5. Miss Me
6. Burnt Sally
7. Private Number
8. Shuffle Sweet
9. Black Coffee
10. Feelit
11. Mistreated