Dave Roth back in January of 1991 was the first of many CD purchases for me that year!
A Little Ain’t Enough is a decent album in the Roth catalogue that over time has grown on me. But as the early 90’s rolled in I thought it was good but nowhere near the level of 1986’s Eat Em & Smile album which was a bona fide classic for many!
Dave though of course soldiered on and released 1998’s Skyscraper which after its recording Bassist Billy Sheehan quit as well after the Skyscraper Tour Guitarist Steve Vai bolted to the green money-making pastures of Whitesnake.
David Lee though kept going. Guitar for Hire Steve Hunter and Young Fella Jason Becker came aboard along with the Greg and Matt Bissonette (Bass and Drums respectively) as well as Bret Tuggle on keys!
This band headed to Vancouver to work with Bob Rock so I knew beforehand this album would have an excellent drum and production sound!
12 songs make up this album. Dave kinda stays in the 80’s game with these songs at times and no better evidence is the opening track/video A Little Ain’t Enough. More so the video as Roth was still stuck in the roaring 80’s MTV video cycle which if you strip from your memory the video this is a pretty decent track!
Roth and band on these tracks play more like a band as gone is the explosive playing of Sheehan and Vai and a more less friendly Hot Dog approach is taken. Shoot It and Lady Luck take Roth and crew into new directions musically. Dave is growing up. An older wiser Dave I suppose!?
Hammerhead Shark though is classic Dave with him doing what he does best and that’s writing some real cool lyrics ..
It was a time of trouble
And a time of grief
Kings lay with whores
And begat thieves
Yeah the world was wicked
And their hearts were cold
Noah said to his missus
Well, it’s time to go
Lord said to Noah
‘Fore ya float that arc
You better save me a space
For my hammerhead shark
Whoa yeah, the hammerhead shark
Now, now now Johnny liked to drink and fight
And he raised big hell every Saturday night
This is Dave at his finest..Love the groove of this tune and some slick slide guitar work courtesy of Steve Hunter! Dig the big smash out at the end with the drums that will knock your socks off! With the live video below I laugh at the fact that Dave has his lyrics taped to the drum riser as he takes the odd look at them but tries to do it so no one notices..haha
Tell The Truth and Baby’s On Fire are new directions in sound for Dave as he headed into the early 90’s. Tell The Truth is more chill Dave as Hunter lays down some slick Blues along with Becker. Baby’s On Fire harkens somewhat back to old school Roth but Dave is trying to move into new sonics of Roth N Rock!
40 Below begins with Greg’s big Drum Sound and more slip n slide Blues licks splattered throughout but played at a decent clip! I have to say the picking and playing of Hunter/Becker is awesome on this album. Dave was smart to add two guitars for this album so there was no real Vai comparisons as Hunter especially is the exact opposite to the wacka doodle wang bar bizarro work of Vai!
Sensible Shoes I remember getting some play here in Tbay. I’m sure its Dave blasting some Harp on this track. Always been fond of this track as ‘Sensible Shoes the one’s that will lead me back to you”. Love the Harmonica and guitar picking mashup going on this track!
When myself/Tbone/Darr & Rugg fist heard Last Call back in January of 91 we all hollered ‘Dave’s ripping off Aerosmith’s Walk This Way” and why wouldn’t Dave? Aerosmith was huge in 1990-91 so the most logical move would be to nix a Aeroclassic and Roth it up and shoot for a hit. Well Dave got the Aero part right but the ‘HIT’ part didn’t work out so well!**
Dogtown Shuffle is another one of those mid tempo rock tracks. It’s ok, not a great track a little lumbering but some of the vocal lines are quite amusing to say the least…
The Diamond One decides to do a Musical Hot Dog Track called Its Showtime to feature his new young protegé Jason Becker to rock it up on the guitar and this song is a close to a Van Halen tune if any on this album. When I first heard it I thought man this has to be the opener of Dave’s upcoming tour. I was wrong! haha
The last track Drop In A Bucket is an absolute classic in the Dave solo catalogue. Becker sizzles and dazzles on the fretboard as his Boss tosses down a real good lead vocal. Nice use of the female backing singers as well and man what total drag for us listeners as well for Becker to get Gehrig’s disease but this album is a testimony that the cat could play!
Roth n Roll in 91 was starting to show cracks in the foundation. Times were a changing as each of Dave’s solo albums were selling less and less and his tours were starting to have troubles in moving tickets as well.
A Little Ain’t Enough is like the Sleeper Album in Dave’s solo career. Pretty decent listen actually. Not as good as the Eat Em record of course but its Dave trying to push his inflated microphone prop into the early 90’s but not to many were caring…
**- When I was writing this up I thought I would play the beginning of Last Call for my Suzi. Now Suzi will be the first to admit that she is not the biggest Hard Rock Fan out there but it only took a few seconds for her to answer when I asked her “What song does this remind you of?” Quickly The Boss answered “Walk This Way” First time she ever heard Last Call and perhaps Suzi’s Last Call with Roth as well!