Under The Radar: DAVID LEE ROTH – A LITTLE AIN’T ENOUGH (1991)
Updated: Mar 25
David Lee Roth – vocals, harmonica
Jason Becker – lead guitar
Steve Hunter – guitar, rhythm guitar
Gregg Bissonette – percussion, drums
Matt Bissonette – bass, vocals
Brett Tuggle – keyboards, vocals
01. A Lil’ Ain’t Enough 02. Shoot It 03. Lady Luck
04. Hammerhead Shark 05. Tell the Truth
06. Baby’s On Fire 07. 40 Below 08. Sensible Shoes
09. Last Call 10. The Dogtown Shuffle
11. It’s Showtime! 12. Drop in the Bucket
A Little Ain't Enough is the third full length studio album from , by David lee Roth, the then-former and now current vocalist of Van Halen. The album was released on January 15th, 1991 with producer extraordinaire Bob Rock (The Cult, Mötley Crüe, Metallica, Colin James) sitting behind the boards.
Six years after the split with Van Halen, it looked like Roth and former band mates could comfortable co-exist and share the air and video waves, as fans turned his first two solo efforts into hits right alongside new releases from the group. But this would all change with the release of his third album, A Little Ain't Enough, the album stalled achieving only a gold certification (half a million in sales), never reaching the commercial heights of Eat 'Em and Smile and Skyscraper. Roth’s’ solo career would never really recover eventually leading to a Van Halen reunion in 2007.
On paper A Little Ain't Enough sounds like a return to form of sorts for Roth, insisting that he and his band stay in the shittiest Vancouver hotels they could find. Essentially roughing it with the prostitutes, dealers, criminals, the works, in order to make a dirty rock record like the early days in Van Halen.
Unfortunately, A Little Ain’t Enough wasn’t the return to the dirty raw rock sound that Roth had publicized. But what we did get was Roth’s first straight ahead rock album, a more diverse sounding record incorporating his favourite source of inspiration – the blues.
Standouts include the rocking lead single, A Lil Ain't Enough, mid-tempo hard rocker Lady Luck, the energetic hammerhead Shark, the bluesy Sensible Shoes and the Van Halen-esque album closers, It’s Showtime! and Drop in the Bucket
In my opinion A Little Ain’t Enough is a solid record and deserves a second chance to be heard. By the time A Little Ain’t Enough was released , Roth was facing an uphill climb to get the album to resonate with the fan base. First off, a lot fans at the time were angry with Roth’s more pop-oriented sound of Skyscrapper, even though he backtracked a bit for his latest release the damage to his rock star credibility was irreversible. Second by 1991, audiences were craving for something new, even before Grunge would take over the musical landscape, Dave’s style of music was starting to be seen as passé.
I really think that the major problem with the album, was timing, rather than lack of good songs. If A Little Ain't Enough had been the album to follow up Eat 'Em And Smile the fans would likely have been a lot happier and Roth's solo career wouldn't have taken a tumble. Playing or listening to Roth’s solo albums in order A Little Ain't Enough sounds out of place, style-wise it’s the album that should be right in between Eat 'Em and Smile and Skyscrapper. If the album had been released in between 89/90, it may have had a better run on the charts.
It’s too bad A Little Ain’t Enough is a very good album. No, not a masterpiece, but a good no non-sense rock album that “classic” Van Halen fans would enjoy.
Sad footnote: I couldn’t write this review without mentioning the album featured the lead guitar work of Jason Becker, a then up-and-coming guitarist who was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, aka Lou Gehrig's Disease) a week after joining the band. He wasn’t in the band for long, but he sure did leave a lasting impression.