DAVID ROBERTS – Better Late Than Never (2011)

DAVID ROBERTS - Better Late Than Never (2011)

David Roberts’ magnum opus ‘All Dressed Up’ (1982) is considered as a milestone in the AOR / Westcoast genre and it’s easy to explain why.
Although it was David’s first album, the man knew how to write catchy songs and to perform them in a breathtaking way.
Count to that the support of an excellent producer Greg Mathieson and a whole cast of impressive musicians and it becomes obvious that one can call this record a classic.

After the successful debut, David concentrates as composer, and built himself a career as unparalleled songwriter for the likes of Lee Aaron, Bad English, Jimmy Barnes, Boulevard, House Of Lords, Signal and Starship.
When a japanese label released ‘All Dressed Up’ for the first time on CD in 2006, it sells very well, more than the company expected.
At the same time, David started to feel very confident that it would be the time to restart his own musical career as an artist to know the fact that many AOR / WestCoast fans has been expecting his brand-new album.

The first recording session of “Better Late Than Never” was done in the Summer of 2007 in Los Angels again with Greg Mathieson behind the desk.
The rest half of the album was done in Nashville in March 2008, with Fred Mollin as the producer, best-known for America’s 1980’s album ‘Alibi’ and/or Jimmy Webb’s 1996 album ‘Ten Easy Pieces’.
Once again world renowned musicians were hired for the recording including the likes of guitarists Michael Landau (Richard Marx), Brent Mason (Shania Twain) and J.T. Corenflos (Richard Marx, Billy Ray Cyrus), drummer Mike Baird (Hall & Oates, Billy Idol, Journey) and bassist Abraham Laboriel (Elton John, Michael Jackson.)

“Best Thing I Never Had” is the bright and breezy opener, with a great interplay of acoustic and electric guitars. This is wonderful tune that clearly demonstrates Roberts’ ability to write a catchy tune.
The title track “Better Late Than Never” is a dramatic mid-tempo AOR number with a double-tracked vocal and bluesy edge, and reminds me of something Nelson would record but more much classy.
“Someone Else’s Song” is a Toto sound-alike masterpiece, and the one song that harks back to the debut album the most.
“Be Gentle With My Heart” is reminiscent of Richard Marx’s output in the later nineties, and was written with Randy Goodrum, who was also responsible for co-penning Steve Perry’s ‘Oh Sherrie’ and ‘Foolish Heart.’

“Before I Go” has a great AOR melody and a fabulous chorus. This song was originally recorded by Starship for their smash hit album ‘Knees In The Hoopla’ (1986) but it’s a Roberts’ original. A highlight.
“Stay With Me Tonight” (co-written with John Waite and originally slated for one of his solo albums) is another gem. This is an outstanding ballad performed very much in Waite’s style.
Also beautiful is the elegant “Be Gentle With My Heart”, which features some tasty spanish guitar parts by the great Michael Landau.
“This Is How I Say Goodbye” has a tons of attitude, very retro-AOR in its conception with staccato keyboards and a killer guitar work.
“What I’ve Been Missing” is a classy melodic mid-tempo to close the album with style, stating what a great songwriter and vocalist David Roberts is .

Originally, the aptly titled “Better Late Than Never” appeared in 2008, but was only ever released in Japan and soon became out of print.
Now is being re-released in Europe and you can’t miss it. This is a fantastic return by David Roberts, one of the greats in this genre.
I can’t recommend this album enough. It has all that classic AOR fans love and die for.
Essential Purchase.

01 – Best Thing I Never Had
02 – Better Late Than Never
03 – Someone Else’s Song
04 – Before I Go
05 – Stay With Me Tonight
06 – Be Gentle With My Heart
07 – Eight Wonder
08 – This Is How I Say Goodbye
09 – If I Woulda’ Been There
10 – What I’ve Been Missing

Lead and Background Vocals: David Roberts
Guitars: Michael Landau, Brent Mason, J.T. Corenflos, Fred Mollin
Bass: Abraham Laboriel Sr., Larry Paxton
Drums: Mike Baird, Shannon Forest
Keyboards: Greg Mathieson, Pat Coil
Percussion: Luis Conte
Background Vocals: Tim Buppert, Lyle Gudmunsen

produced by Greg Mathieson


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