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Articles Home » 1983 Articles » Martin Eric (Band) - 1983 Sucker For A Pretty Face
Martin Eric (Band) - 1983 Sucker For A Pretty Face

ARTIST: Martin, Eric (Band)
ALBUM: Sucker For A Pretty Face
LABEL: Elektra
SERIAL: 60238-1
YEAR: 1983
CD REISSUE: 1997, Elektra, 7599-62039-2 * 2009, Wounded Bird, WOU-6238 * 2016, Rock Candy Records, CANDY306


LINEUP: Eric Martin - vocals * John Nymann - guitars * Mark Ross - guitars * Tom Duke - bass * Troy Lucketta - drums * David Jacobson - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Sucker For A Pretty Face * 02 Don't Stop * 03 Private Life * 04 Ten Feet Tall * 05 Letting it Out * 06 Young At Heart * 07 Just Another Pretty Boy * 08 One More Time * 09 Catch Me If You Can * 10 Love Me * 11 Stop In The Name Of Love * 12 Introduction - Young At Heart * 13 Ten Feet Tall (Live) * 14 Sucker For A Pretty Face (Live) * 15 Don't Stop (Live)


Another album which has assumed minor legend status in AOR history is this, the only product from the Eric Martin Band, that served as a springboard for the future Mr Big vocalist and aside from Lucketta (who went on to Tesla), little else! At the time the band was supposed to be the next big thing but obviously things didn't pan out as planned. The band was originally known as 415, forming while Martin was still at high school, the band the toast of the high school circuit. Without being signed 415 managed to secure dates as openers for stars like Rick Springfield, Molly Hatchet and Foreigner, an impressive feat that wouldn't be possible in today's feeble market. As the marketable aspect of the line-up the band was convinced to change their name to the Eric Martin Band before signing with Elektra with heavyweights Kevin Elson and Rodney Mills enlisted as producers for the debut.

The Songs
In the midst of the AOR boom of the early 80's the title track appears rather ordinary on first listen, but grows gradually, with a bouncy melody line mixed with exceptional harmonies. Second up is a cover, 'Don't Stop', originally recorded by British rocker Frankie Miller on his 1982 album 'Standing On The Edge', which is considerably tougher in nature, with a far more satisfying hook, which almost begs the listener to seek out the original! ' Private Life' has an obligatory West Coast flavour, with keyboard work that wouldn't have been out of place on Michael Sembello's 'Bossa Nova Motel'. Matters are enlivened by the stunning 'Ten Feet Tall', which finally nails a perfect AOR atmosphere in all areas, the vintage sound of 1983. Michael Bolton would have been proud of this thriller. Not on the same page is highly strung ballad 'Letting It Out' which fails to move me, a let-down when the hook rolls around. Equally as unsatisfying is 'Young At Heart', an EMB original put to shame by another cover, 'Just Another Pretty Boy', written by Gary O' Connor (aka Gary O) formerly bassist and vocalist of Canadian pomp act Aerial. All the keyboard touches are glorious as is the chorus and it's sad that it took a cover to provide the highlight thus far. 'One More Time' and 'Catch Me If You Can' play it by the numbers without opening eyes, leaving 'Love Me' to rescue the album, a brilliant ballad with shades of Aldo Nova, with the right amount of emotion poured into the guitar solo.

In Summary
A mixed effort then that fell short of the heights I expected given the hype this has received in various quarters over the years. You know when you're listening to something special and as I sat here motionless for the majority of 'Sucker' it became clear this is not quite a classic. After the albums release and a taste of the big time with further tours with ZZ Top for one, things deteriorated reportedly due to personality conflicts and the band split. An ignominious and premature end to an admittedly promising band. Martin of course found success with Mr Big, while Lucketta occupied the drum stool for Tesla which he does to this day. Nyman recently made an appearance on a Y&T compilation while Ross' only noted session since 'Sucker' was his role on Player's Peter Beckett's solo album of 1991. There was far superior AOR to this in 1983, but maybe this inconsistency could have been avoided on further albums, a fact we'll never know as they never got around to a follow-up.

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#1 | richardb on April 29 2006 22:19:17
Sorry Alun although I agree with 95% of what you say, in this instance I don't..

The album is nowhere near as disappointing as you make out. Not a classic but I certainly put it in my top 30 AOR releases of '83 and as debuts go it's pretty hot - surely it can't have left you THAT unmoved perhaps you should be drinking stronger coffee LOL.

Martin is a classy vocalist and the whole band perform with youthful vigour which is evident from the opening cut.

My highlights would be 'Don't stop', 'Ten feet tall' 'Young at heart' and the blistering 'Just a pretty boy' which blows the tepid Gary O'Connor version away - That's saying something because I'm a big fan of Aerial and Gary O..
#2 | dangerzone on April 30 2006 19:44:19
To be honest I've been listening to this quite a bit lately as it keeps popping up on my I Pod shuffle and I have to agree with you, it isn't that bad at all. Perhaps I was expecting too much the first time around and didn't give it a fair shot while reviewing it.
#3 | reyno-roxx on February 09 2008 18:50:13
I thought it was patchy upon release, but I've just got round to picking up the Jap version on CD with six live tracks plus an additional studio cut (another cover) and I can appreciate this record a whole lot more now. Quite underrated. It's certainly more of a rocker than some of Eric's subsequent pre-Mr Big solo albums.
#4 | Jez on June 13 2008 09:05:27
Highly regarded release from '83. Top notch AOR in the vein of Loverboy etc . This still holds up as it did when it was released and is the best thing Mr. Martin has ever released by a long way. Lovely lovely!
#5 | rostoned on June 21 2008 09:30:40
Guitarist Mark Ross played on 4 tracks on Greg Rolie's mediocre 1985 debut on Columbia.
#6 | Nick C on August 23 2008 15:37:08
My fave album associated with Eric Martin, although Only Fooling Myself comes close albeit a much mellower album than this. I was never keen on his Mr Big stuff apart from the ocassional track but this album is pretty much class from start to finish (well almost). Don't Stop, Private Life and Ten Feet Tall being the triumvirate of tracks that send it stellar for me. The only track I'm not keen on is the album closer Love Me ...but I can live with it, it's just not as good as what preceeds it.
#7 | airborne on August 03 2013 22:38:13
The wounded bird re-issue, is worth buying, as, it includes the live tracks, which were on the japanese version. The live album tracks, knock spots of the studio versions.
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