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The Roots of Heavy Metal, Vol. 1: Highway Robbery

RCA

‘The Roots of Heavy Metal’ will be a bi-monthly column here on Noisecreep that will shed light upon some of the forsaken pioneers of the Heavy sound from the ’60s and ’70s. For our initial entry, we will ponder on mystery band Highway Robbery and their solitary major label release, For Love or Money.

An internet search on the band Highway Robbery yields no gold.

There’s nothing in regards to photos, documentation of any performances or even the present day whereabouts of the members. All you will find are crazed, heartfelt testimonies to the bands’ thunder from such note worthy nerds of the obscure and thunderous as Julian Cope and the in-the-know employees of the Aquarius Record Store in San Francisco.

And it’s with good reason.

The sole LP the trio recorded for RCA back in 1972 entitled For Love or Money is one of the lost gems in the history of heavy. Legend has it the band was a ‘studio only’ concoction cooked up by Bill Halverson, a producer known for his work with the Beach Boys, Crosby Stills Nash & Young and Eric Clapton. Barring a few weak soft rock tracks on the album – presumably thrown in to appease some executive who ‘didn’t hear a hit’ – the platter is a steamroller of excessive force that combines the good times vibe of early Grand Funk with the beguiling menace of Brooklyn’s heaviest, Sir Lord Baltimore; a truly mysterious monster of the highest order.

Listen to “Promotion Man”

And now that I sit here and think about it, I love the fact there’s not a stitch of information to be found about these guys on the web. It just makes me imagine them as masked desperados going into the studio, laying down these heavy tracks and riding off into the night with no remorse, regrets or request for recognition.

Right on.

Listen to “Fifteen”

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