Hackamore Brick

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.

I’ve been pondering the posting of lists. This will be the first in a series of thematic collections relating to floats my boat. Today’s list was inspired by a humid drive into the barren heart of Delaware County where Peter Jefferies’ depressing Electricity album placed me in one of those pensive moods that went perfectly with the blur of chain restaurants dominating my horizons. Therefore, this led to this list of songs that always make me feel like a maudlin chump. Sorry that these are individual tracks, but I broke it up so you may pick and choose. There will probably be a sequel since I gave up at twenty.

1. Skip Spence-“Broken Heart” from the Oar LP

-he sounds broken down before his life even began. There are many worthy choices on this album, but this captures the weight of love gone wrong.


2. Beck-“Lost Cause” from the Sea Change Lp

-he has devoted so much time to being the most wiggity-wack Scientologist in the club that you forget how great he can be without the fixins’. A vivid snapshot of regret, lost friendships and the worry that goes along with new beginnings.


3. Bread-“Look What You’ve Done” from the On the Waters LP

-a soft-rock classic where the protagonist is pitiful and pissed at the same time. Who knew Bread had such issues with passive aggressive behavior?


4. Camper Van Beethoven-“All Her Favorite Fruit” from Key Lime Pie LP

-domesticity gone awry.


5. Codeine-“3 Angels” from the Frigid Stars LP

-I could probably pick any of their songs, but this one crushes you more than the others.


6. Galaxie 500-When Will You Come Home” from Peel Sessions


An old chestnut that deals with those times you miss the company of other humans.

7. Gary Stewart-“She’s Acting Single(I’m Drinking Doubles) from The Essential Gary Stewart


-Oh Gary, lemme give you a big old hug. Nevermind, let’s finish the bottle.

8. Gene Clark-“Life’s Greatest Fool” from the No Other Lp


-an exploration of powerlessness, then hope. Actually, this is kind of uplifting in its own way.

9. Go-Betweens-“Dive For Your Memory” from 16 lovers Lane LP


-A man willing to do anything to regain the past. Kind of romantic, but tragic.

10. Graham Nash-“Military Madness” from the Songs For Beginners LP


-Sad only because its Vietnam era warnings seem relevant again.

11. The Jayhawks-“Take Me With You When You Go” from Hollywood Town Hall


-I always imagined this to be about Mark Olson’s worries about his wife’s struggle with Multiple Sclerosis.

12. Kristin Hersh-“Beestung” from Hips and Makers Lp


-I don’t know what the hell she’s talking about, but it seems to deal with her struggles with mental illness and her pleas for a lover to assist her.

13. Lisa Gerrard-“Sanvean” from Live in Dusseldorf bootleg.


-I hope these are the sounds I hear as my life enters its last minutes.

14. The Magick Heads-“Before We Go Under” from Before We Go Under Lp


-A song about drowning from a side project of Robert Scott of The Bats.

15. Michael Hurley-“Sweedeedee” from Armchair Boogie(the best album ever made)


-another tale of lost love and the attempts to regain it.

16. Mickey Newbury-“The Future’s Not What It Used To Be” from ‘Frisco Mabel Joy


-a man discovers that travel and booze won’t solve his problems. Go figure.

17. Peter Jefferies-“Scattered Logic” from the Electricity lp


– my favorite song at the moment. A heart-wrenching three minutes.

18. John Cale-“I Keep a Close Watch on My Heart at Night” from Music for a New Society


-somebody not only broke this dude’s heart, but squashed it into a pulp.

19. Peter Hammill-“Been Alone So Long” from the Nadir’s Big Chance Lp


-This is a close second to the John Cale song in terms of crushing hopelessness. A song about a man who has been isolated so long that he’s forgotten how to relate to humanity.

20. Marc Ribot-“Saints” from the Saints Lp


-let’s end on a wordless note. His cover of Albert Ayler’s “Saints” is a dark, moody end to this self-indulgence.