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Highway - 1979 Highway 1



ARTIST: Highway (Australia)
ALBUM: Highway 1
LABEL: RSO
SERIAL: RS 13089
YEAR: 1979

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Daryl Braithwaite - lead vocals * Garth Porter - keyboards, backing vocals * Tony Mitchell - bass, backing vocals * Harvey James - lead guitar, backing vocals * Alan Sandow - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Feels Like It's Slippin' Away * 02 Skyline * 03 If I Breakdown * 04 Don't Wait Too Long * 05 Winnipeg Sidestep * 06 You Made A Fool * 07 Cheatin' Eyes * 08 Another Night On The Road * 09 Take My Heart * 10 Beg Steal Or Borrow


Background
Back in 1979, you would forgiven these guys were just another new entry in the AOR sweepstakes, but the truth is they had been around for quite a while as Sherbet, a band that should need no introduction here at GD. Huge in Australia, New Zealand and parts of the Far East; Sherbet worked hard for the same success in North America and Europe, including a legendary tour in the UK with The Hollies, but failed to crack either market. At the prompting of friend and fan Andy Gibb, Sherbet signed with RSO Records, one of the most successful pop labels of the late 70's but not without a cost. Seems the label in their infinite wisdom couldn't wrap their arms around the name Sherbet and the unbelievably generic 'Highway' was chosen as the groups moniker. Fine and dandy, but even with the name change, RSO did little if any promotion for this record and it died a quick death on American record shelves.

Australian cover of Highway - named as Sherbet..


The Songs
Too bad, because this record is top quality AOR, and the opening cut (Feels Like It's) Slippin' Away' is as fine a start as any with inevitable comparisons to Little River Band. Hard to imagine the group hadn't noticed LRB's rise to success with just a tinge of envy, but Sherbet were never copyist, just good at borrowing bits and pieces and making it their own. Special mention should be made for the vocal arrangements and production on this song which sounds like Starcastle and Journey and those Roy Thomas Baker influenced 'wind tunnel' vocals. Good stuff. 'Skyline', '(If I) Breakdown' and 'Take My Heart' should have been big hits, especially the latter which could have fit nicely between Ambrosia and Roger Voudouris on any radio play list of the day. 'Highway 1' had all the ingredients of a hit album and in the end had nothing to show for it.


In Summary
Meanwhile back in Oz, Sherbet was still Sherbet and this album was released (earlier than the American issue) as 'Sherbet' with different sequencing and album art, but the group had lost some serious ground with Australian audiences having spent two years in the States. Only one single charted; 'Another Night On The Road' and I suppose in a last ditch attempt to hold it all together, the group released a single as Highway called 'Heart Get Ready' which failed to do much business and the band split up accordingly. Of course you can't keep a good band down and the group would reform as The Sherbs a short time later, although I can't help but think with better direction in the management department, Sherbet could have been the worldwide success they dreamed of. We'll never know.


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