DAVID LEE ROTH – Diamond Dave


Magna Carta
Release Date: July 8, 2003

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Hi, David, it’s good to hear your voice again!

David Lee Roth’s voice sounded great in the 70’s, the 80’s and in the 90’s. Finally we’ve got a studio report on how David Lee Roth’s sounds like in this decade. His last effort, recorded by his DLR Band-project in 1998, wasn’t a too promising closure of the previous chapter. Not that he didn’t sing well, but the album suffers to my opinion from a very bad treatment in the mix, giving the vocal tracks an edge as sharp as a cucumber.

This time around Lee Roth delivers a recording which has left the mix with everything on the right spot, and Diamond Dave’s tongue sticks where it’s supposed to be; …in cheek and with a presence in every note that states his position as one of rock’s greatest singers. (He might have been criticized for his live performances lately, but right here, right now, it is his studio works that count for me.)

With his solo career now containing seven album releases (including the Crazy from the Heat-EP) he has stated his position as an artist being so very much more than just the ex-singer of Van Halen. David Lee Roth is David Lee Roth, and Van Halen happened to be the band he used to sing in once upon a time. I love the old Van Halen-albums, but I really couldn’t care less about a reunion. I am so happy as long as Diamond Dave provides us with his excellent solo releases.

«Diamond Dave», David Lee Roth’s so to speak self-titled new album, brings us Diamond Dave glamour, Diamond Dave groove, Diamond Dave fun and Diamond Dave coolness. Unfortunately it doesn’t bring us a lot of Diamond Dave compositions. Only one of the album’s 14 tracks («Thug Pop») is written by Dave (plus two tracks that are really not songs but two kind of solo jams: David playing with a harp, and David playing with a drum.). This is a loss, and I ask myself WHY?!WHY?!WHY?!

His latest recordings might not have been commercially successful. His DLR Band-cd was a «to the fans only»-piece. Less than ten years ago Lee Roth wrote ( with some help ) 12 of 13 songs on the brilliant ( yet quite ignored ) «Your Filthy Little Mouth», an album without any hits to remember. Still, in my opinion, “Your Filthy Little Mouth” is his best album, and probably the most timeless. (Let’s face it: Steve Vai’s guitar play on Dave’s 80’s recordings has sounded old fashioned for the last ten years or so.) Lee Roth’s sale numbers falling might have forced him back to the idea of recording covers (and songs written for him by others), which in the first place made his breakthrough with the instant success of his Crazy From The Heat-EP (1985), consisting of nothing but cover tunes.

The songs he has chosen for «Diamond Dave» includes well known numbers from Hendrix (If 6 Was 9) to The Beatles (Tomorrow Never Knows) to The Doors (Soul Kitchen). These are the record’s most odd and less interesting tracks. «You got the blues, not me» (originally titled «I’m tired») and «Stay while the night is young» written by some Chris Youlden are two of the album’s strongest components, and along with «Let it all hang out» these tracks really give Lee Roth an opportunity to show the variety of his voice. This is not hard rock, this is groovy blues rock, and even The Rat Pack’ish swing (e.g. the album’s last bonus track, «Bad Habit») with a saxophone or two thrown in every once in a while. A comparison with Huey Lewis & The News’ melodic rock’n’roll wouldn’t be a crime. He has also included a new version of «Ice Cream Man» (by John Brim) which first appeared on Van Halen’s debut album. You might ask why, but the song actually fits this album much more than it did in 1978.

The problem with all these other writers is that their lyrics never quite get to treat David right. Which is a loss. You’ll really miss his humor, irony, sexism and «I’m-the coolest-guy-on-this-planet»-statements. On «She’s So Good» he gets to scream -I’m gonna steal you daughter!, but that’s about as close as he gets to market his life long solid self-confidence.

So what do we get out of this then? David Lee Roth is alive. He still makes records. He still has got a great voice. He is still a great entertainer. I don’t ask for more from Diamond Dave. The existence of this record, despite its weaker and odd parts, just makes me happy, happy, happy!


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