David Lee Roth

Diamond Dave

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Let's face it; David Lee Roth was the most exciting and entertaining singer to ever front Van Halen. And although his solo albums have not all been winners, at least he's been known to take chances and try new approaches with rock music (such as the entirely sung-in-Spanish Sonrisa Salvaje, the synth pop-ish Skyscraper, the Nile Rodgers-produced Your Filthy Little Mouth, etc.). For his 2003 release Diamond Dave, Roth uses the same approach he and his then-comrades in Van Halen followed on 1982's Diver Down -- an album consisting primarily of cover songs, with a few originals sprinkled in. As expected, the covers that work the best are the ones that aren't that well known, including the lead-off single "Shoo Bop" (a cover of Steve Miller's "Shu Ba Da Du Ma Ma Ma Ma") and a big band reading of a tune Van Halen covered way back when, "Ice Cream Man," while a few of the better-known songs (especially Jimi Hendrix's "If 6 Was 9") don't fare as well. Of course, Diamond Dave is no Fair Warning. But it's a hell of a whole lot more listenable than anything Van Halen has issued in ages (especially when compared to the 1998 atrocity Van Halen III).

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