Hackamore Brick-One Kiss Leads to Another
July 13, 2009
One Kiss Leads to Another (Kama Sutra 1971)
This album stands firmly at the intersection of all that I love about the music of the early 70s. Most folks seem to peg it as a scruffier descendent of the Velvet Underground’s Loaded, which is kind of fitting since most folks don’t even pay proper tribute to it in the VU pantheon. I kind of like that it is regarded as a lesser cousin to watered down stock. However, we all know that pedigrees don’t mean shit, so we gotta embrace what we encounter on its own merits. To be honest, I do hear echoes of Loaded, but only in the fact that that both are loosely played, kind of stoned and slightly ragged takes on what happens after the afterglow of Woodstock fades, but you still like to play folk, blues and good time rock n’ roll in an earnest fashion. There isn’t an ounce of pretension to One Kiss Leads to Another. Yeah, it’s kind of obvious they like Lou Reed like any other maladjusted longhair, but there is something sweet and sentimental about their take that lacks the overbearing artifice he engineered for himself. Add a love of the 70s am smoothness of early Bread, Poco or even a blue collar version of Colin Blunstone and you kind of have an idea of what planet these guys were transmitting from in 1971.
Yeah, I’m kind contradicting myself by immediately grasping at the VU straw, but the opener “Reachin” immediately conjures the same wistful hoodoo of “Ride Into the Sun” or “I Found a Reason” as vocalist Chick Newman sings of reaching for the last moments of sunshine as the day slowly turns dark as night. It’s supposedly a metaphor for the Vietnam War and its devastating effect upon the idealism and “can do” spirit of America. It is an ode to the fallen soldiers that had their optimism crushed by the the brutality of war. On a larger scale, it deals with a larger issue of the loss of innocence and how can anyone resist a hardening heart when the world is such a fucked terrain. Idealism gets squashed so easily and he wants to know why. You ask yourself the same damn thing after hearing it.
Now where they deviate from the VU blueprint is on the closer “Zip Gun Woman” which could almost pass as a late 70s punk tune if it wasn’t punctuated by a psychedelic organ boogaloo straight out of a live Santana or Yes album. It’s such an angry, frustrated number that lacks the musical vocabulary to qualify as proto-punk, but the piss and vinegar marks it as a definite precursor weighed down by a hippie palette. “I Watched You Rhumba” is another walkabout round the Loaded influence as it swings more than their heroes ever could due to their art-school trappings. It’s a simpleminded ode to yearning and lust that taps into the primal desires one has when they see the object of their affection for the first time. Nothing fancy, just a slightly horny ode to watching a lover rhumba on the dancefloor as you thank your lucky stars that you mustered the courage to ever speak to her.
Is One Kiss Leads to Another groundbreaking or influential? No, it isn’t anything more than a well-played rock album that invites repeated listens because it traffics in the time honored subjects of lust, betrayal, good tunes and a frothy brew in a way that makes them feel like AM staples even though Hackamore Brick never got a whiff of radio airplay.