The largely forgotten Brooklyn duo Hackamore Brick hadn’t played the venerable Village stage of the Bitter End since 1970. Yet, here they were, an unsung harmony group from the turn of the '70s, back to try again.
First, a short history lesson: Singer-songwriters Chick Newman and Tommy Moonlight came up in between a changing of the guards in the music industry, having found work as salaried tunesmiths in the late ‘60s, before the LP really took hold and FM rock radio changed the way people listened to music. Existing off a stew of early rock ‘n’ roll, doo-wop, folk rebellion and Brill Building pop, Hackamore Brick attached itself to the same roots of NYC’s rock legacy as Lou Reed, Billy Joel and John Sebastian (of the Lovin' Spoonful). It shows on their lone LP, 1971’s One Kiss Leads to Another, an eye-opening collection of folk, dry humor and the anger of the day (not to mention a dead ringer for the Velvet Underground).
The music press recognized the group’s talents, but it seems as if they were too early for the party, and the duo broke up about a year later. Moonlight and Newman soldiered on throughout the ‘70s, playing locally with a number of outfits, but no more records were forthcoming, and their lone effort drifted into obscurity, becoming a holy grail for record collectors who heard in One Kiss both the allegiance to rock ‘n roll as it used to be and the ascent of punk and new wave.
OK, so back to the Bitter End. Newman and Moonlight emerged with their chops and, most importantly, their singing voices fully intact. Their sound has stayed put over the past four decades, making for a refreshing perspective on pop music, which you can hear on their new six-song EP, Long Way Home. In this era’s hyper-aware, dissolvable notions on culture and trends, Hackamore Brick brings a remarkable sense of purity to what they’re doing. You could see it in their faces: these guys are having more fun getting out there than just about any other band in town.
Do you have a favorite "forgotten" album? Drop it in the comments section.