A Little Ain’t Enough is the third studio album by David Lee Roth, released in January 1991 through Warner Music Group.
It was certified gold on April 11, 1991 and by 1996, it was out of print. Funny that.
You see, back then, this meant that the only way to get the album was via the second-hand record/Cd store or by finding a brick and mortar store that had a new copy not sold yet from the original print run.
“Out of print” in record label speak means that the album wasn’t selling enough for the record label to keep a master press waiting to produce more copies. When the music industry was controlled by the record labels these kinds of scenarios were real and often. However, in the era of streaming, the music is never out of print. It is available 24/7, at your fingertips.
And if we never had copyright infringement, we never would have had streaming.
Anyway, in the February 1991 issue of Hot Metal (Australia’s Premier Metal Mag) there was a review of the “A Little Aint Enough” album. It was reviewed by Robyn Doreian who at the time was also the Editor of the magazine. She gave it four skulls out of five.
Here it is in italics. The non-italics are my extra comments to the review.
Diamond Dave is one of the TRUE stars left in the music business today.
He’s in a category of his own in that he has re-defined the parameters of music to suit his individual flamboyant tastes and not without a hint of tongue in cheek humour. I mean, who else can resurrect a bargain bin tune like “That’s Life”, and transform it into a glitzy Hollywood-style bump and grind production…
David Lee Roth invented the word “show business!”.
Since departing the near-legendary Van Halen, he’s collaborated with the likes of Steve Vai, Billy Sheehan and Greg Bissonette to produce several fine solo albums, reaching the pinnacle with 1986’s “Eat Em And Smile”.
Gone are the old crew, with only Bissonette remaining, while the rest of the musicians are hired hands. I must admit, at times I find myself pining for the supremo guitarmanship of Steve Vai, as those two egocentric characters truly shone together musically, and Jason Becker must have found it difficult to fill the shows of his predecessor.
The guitar magazines I was purchasing all spoke about Jason Becker and how this album would cement his status as a bonafide guitar hero. By 1990, Becker had already released two Cacophony albums with co-guitarist Marty Friedman, as well as his debut solo album, “Perpetual Burn”. Marty Friedman was already cementing his stature in Megadeth and the guitar community waited for Becker to do the same with a known entity or band.
Little did we know that Becker would be struck down with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). Initially, Becker’s life expectancy from the doctors was set to three to five years. He outlived that terminal diagnosis. By 1996, Becker lost the ability to speak. His father along with Jason developed a way to communicate via eye movements.
This time around with his fourth effort, “A Little Aint Enough”, we see Diamond Dave coming up with a more diverse sound incorporating his favourite source of inspiration – the blues – plus his trademark stomping in our face rock and roll.
The first track, “Lil’ Ain’t Enough” is Roth through and through with its rifferama on full overdrive and overabundant vocals filing every conceivable crevice. Along the way we are treated to loads of bluesy-type tunes such as “Hammerhead Shark”, “Sensible Shoes” and “Dogtown Shuffle”. More than apparent on the punchy “Last Call”, one cannot help but notice the obvious similarity in riffs to Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way”. A tad blatant perhaps…
All of the trademarks of David Lee Roth are here in full swing. Be warned he’s back – but then again he’s never really been away!
To me it wasn’t an album about favourite tracks. It was an album about moods and a certain section in each song. To me “moods” is the essence of rock music. Typical of the MTV era, the record had three to four quality songs.
So let’s digest the album.
The opening title track “A Lil’ Ain’t Enough” is written by Robbie Nevil and David Lee Roth and the obvious leadoff single. Actually, what a strange fucking combination in songwriters. Robbie Nevil is the dude that wrote and had a hit with “Cest La Vie”, a song I really disliked.
Was vaccinated with a phonograph needle one summer break
What a line. How many people can relate to the above lyric?
Summer and music go hand in hand.
“Lady Luck” is written by ex Dio guitarist Craig Goldy and Roth. This song deserved to be the second single. I dig the “Dream Evil” sounding riff. It’s even got Dio-esque lyrics. The below is from “Lady Luck”.
I’m off an’ runnin’
Clear off the beaten path
I don’t know where I’m headed
But I know that I ain’t comin’ back
Meanwhile, the Dio song “I Could Have Been A Dreamer has “Running with the wolf pack / Feel like I’m never coming back”.
“Sensible Shoes” is written by another songwriting committee. This time it is Dennis Morgan, David Lee Roth and Preston Sturges. Back in ’91’ I was like, who are these guys? Regardless, what was the label or Roth thinking about releasing it as a single. I would have released “The Dogtown Shuffle”, a tune written by the band at the time, Steven Hunter, Roth and Brett Tuggle. It’s got a groove that swings and it’s far superior.
“The Dogtown Shuffle”
Ain’t too much distance ‘tween a pat on the back
And a kick in the pants
Brilliant lyrics and so much truth.
Buried deep at the tail end of the album are the Jason Becker and David Lee Roth penned tunes, “It’s Showtime!” and “Drop in the Bucket”. “It’s Showtime” should have a single.
We’ll need 10 percent and that’s off the top
Gross, not net to me
Here today, gone late today
And it’s club dates in the sticks
That’s showtime for you.
Just leave your name and number
In the dumpster when you’re through
Don’t call us, we’ll call you
“Shoot It” is very Rolling Stones sounding, merged with Free “All Right Now”.
“Baby’s on Fire” has this “Immigrant Song” drum groove that I love.
“40 Below” is another rocker that reminds me of “All In The Name Of Rock” from Motley Crue.
The single “Tell the Truth” sounds too much like “Black Velvet” for me to like.
“Hammerhead Shark” just didn’t belong on the album. It’s pedestrian at best.
“Last Call” should have been called “Walk This Way”.