By Daniel Watts
Music Reviewer and Segment Producer
Since David Lee Roth released a new song recently titled “Ain’t No Christmas”, Rock fans have kept the rumor mill working overtime. According to many different sources the song’s lyrics in combination with Roth’s somber tone are his way of letting fans know that he’s leaving Van Halen once again. Roth has neither confirmed nor denied any of these rumors but, if he does go rogue once more, and since he’s already published one new song, perhaps a new solo album is on the horizon?
While we wait for Roth’s next move I thought now would be a great time to revisit some of his earlier solo material with 1991’s A Little Ain’t Enough.
A Little Ain’t Enough is Roth’s third solo album, it was produced by Bob Rock and released on the Warner Bros. label. It features David Lee Roth on vocals and harmonica, Jason Becker and Steve Hunter on guitar, Matt Bissonette on bass, Gregg Bissonette on drums and Brett Tuggle on keyboards.
Assumably Roth and company expected A Little Ain’t Enough to soar as high as a skyscraper on the charts but, the events that took place around the album’s release is one roller coaster of a ride. Roth had recruited members for a new studio backing band, one of those selected happened to be Jason Becker. The then up-and-coming guitarist who was unfortunately diagnosed with ALS shortly after joining the band. Becker was well enough to finish the album thankfully, touring though he was not physically able to do. This I'm sure left Jason with a void in his heart and fans across the globe with a void in their hearts.
The ride didn’t end there though, A Little Ain’t Enough is actually considered to be the beginning of Roth’s commercial decline as his album sales had noticeably decreased from his previous two efforts. Bad timing is said to have played a major role in the album’s poor sales since shortly after its release the Grunge movement exploded all over the music scene causing major uproars which saw the mainstream listening audience begin to consider Roth’s style of Rock and Roll as obsolete. Despite Roth being left on the outside to look in, A Little Ain’t Enough still managed to peak at number 18 on The Billboard 200 in 1991.
Over the years A Little Ain’t Enough hasn’t held the fan’s interest as much as Eat 'Em And Smile and Skyscraper have but it’s still a great effort from Roth and company. In my opinion the album features an intensity that you would hear Van Halen in the late ‘70s cranking out. A Little Ain’t Enough is heavier than the previous two, which I like but it still does feature a fair amount of Pop splattered throughout. I think the production sounds great, the playing is well done and the vocals are good too. I do think the guitar and bass sound a little faceless though. Before, Roth had Billy Sheehan and Steve Vai who have almost instantly recognizable playing styles that pack a major punch. On A Little Ain’t Enough the band had up-and-comers in the mix making the playing in my opinion not as powerful or attention grabbing as it could have been.
I don’t let that overrule my thoughts on the album though. A Little Ain’t Enough features some great tunes across its list of 12. My favorites are, starting with the title track, “A Little Ain’t Enough” which is good vibes and sunshine all around. Track three “Lady Luck” has a confident strutting guitar riff that’s got me coming back for more each time. “Tell The Truth” is an 80’s-fied silky smooth Blues track and lastly, “The Dogtown Shuffle” will have you thinking there’s action awaiting around every corner.