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Articles Home » 1972 Articles » Highway Robbery - 1972 For Love Or Money
 
Highway Robbery - 1972 For Love Or Money



ARTIST: Highway Robbery
ALBUM: For Love Or Money
LABEL: RCA
SERIAL: LSP-4735
YEAR: 1972
CD REISSUE: 2000 Collectables (COL CD 6099)

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Don Francisco - drums, vocals * Michael Stevens - guitars * John Livingston Tunison - bass, vocals

TRACK LISTING: 01 Mystery Rider * 02 Fifteen * 03 All I Need (To Have Is You) * 04 Lazy Woman * 05 Bells * 06 Ain't Gonna Take No More * 07 I'll Do It Again * 08 Promotion Man


Background
Recommended by an avid reader of Glory Daze is this highly regarded early 70's US hard rock band, who recorded this lone ear-shattering set and promptly split. More accessible than the likes of Bang, Blue Cheer or Dust and more importantly.. heavier, Highway Robbery could have gone on to greater things as judged by the undoubted power of this LP, which at moments contains enough power to even surpass the Purples and Zeppelin's. The band was formed by ex Boston Tea Party member Stevens, who assembled a classic power trio, which included ex Atlee drummer Francisco, whose previous band recorded a fine album themselves, 1970's 'Flying A Head'. RCA picked the band up, and upon the albums failure promptly dumped them! An unwise decision, but rather typical. From what I've read the band recorded at such a high volume the engineer was forced to flee the studio. Based on the results I am inclined to believe this was not an exaggeration!


The Songs
Feted by the influential Encyclopedia Of Hard Rock And Heavy Metal, the albums appearance in Derek Oliver's list of obscure rock classics perhaps added to the albums reputation. Fully deserving of the accolades thrown its way, the album skillfully maneuvers its way through a combination of Zeppelin meets Who then Purple, while still sounding undeniably American. 'Mystery Rider' pounds away with some chugging riffs and epic vocal harmonies, a fine introduction to the bands modus operandi. All hell ensues with 'Fifteen', featuring one of the more abrasive guitar sounds heard in the early seventies, and when the band reaches a roaring crescendo that fades prematurely you'll be left wondering why you've never heard this. Some have said the album wasn't commercial, but that isn't true of the near ballad 'All I Need (To Have Is You)' which nears bands like Poco, Crosby Stills And Nash (who producer Bill Halverson had worked with) or America. 'Lazy Woman' is nothing of the sort and the mayhem at the two minute point lays all the contenders to waste, it's that effective, almost like The Who live in the studio. Another melodic ballad is 'Bells', which again could have been radio material, at total odds with the Led Zeppelin styled blues of 'Aint Gonna Take It'. 'I'll Do It All Again' has The Who dabbed all over it, especially 'Naked Eye', as it swings back and forth from soft to hard, the guitar work of Stevens (who wrote all eight tracks) a psychedelic and metal haze. Impressive ender 'Promotion Man' has Tunsion embarking on a vocal rant similar to Ian Gillan's on 'No One Came', cynical in tone and backed up by nothing less than a background explosion. One such outbreak at the three minute mark borders on sensory overload, and honestly makes the established acts of 1972 appear nothing more than practicing garage bands.


In Summary
'All I Need (To Have Is You)' was released as a single but went nowhere as RCA decided the music was too heavy and had no longevity or sales credibility. If this was so why were hard rock acts selling millions of albums in 1972? The band went their separate ways and truthfully the slower tracks of the album are at odds with their more rambunctious offspring, which from what I gather were designed solely for radio, which as stated bombed. But the unrestrained and raucous approach given to the music is what makes it among the best of its kind. With hard rock still at the stage where improvisation and creativity was rife and recorded as such, this group of warriors made a ragged statement that lives on thirty four years later to the point where their contemporaries seem irrelevant, and by that I mean Grand Funk or MC5 who never captured such improbable torrents of pure noise. Available on CD, make it a point to obtain.

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Comments
#1 | tompa on April 22 2006 11:51:10
As with many 70's albums, this one mixes great, heavy moments (Fifteen, Bells) with some bleaker, more mellow moments (All I need to have is you, I'll do it all again). Worth checking out if you're into Budgie/Grand Funk/Bloodrock.
#2 | Harvey Mettle on September 26 2006 18:29:08
Also check out Don Francisco's Christian soft rock solo LP's. possibly more appealing to folks around here!
#3 | sabace on April 20 2007 16:12:33
a fine lp but if you really want the best obscure US bands form early seventies check out CAPTAIN BEYOND SELF TITLED and KINGDOM COME by LORD BALTIMORE SUPER RECORDS
#4 | vinyldinosaurus on February 06 2008 17:55:59
Except for a couple of ballads (which aren't really all that bad) this album smokes! Lazy Woman, Ain't Gonna Take No More, and Promotion Man should be heard by any fan of early seventies hard rock.
#5 | sabace on August 28 2009 13:48:15
been listening to this alot lately, it really is superb . Michael Stevens guitar work is brilliant!
#6 | rkbluez on March 10 2012 15:40:17
This would be a good one for the new Rock Candy offshoot Hard Rock Candy as the collectibles version of this sucks...half of the CD sounds fine the other half has no treble whatsoever.

Like the album a lot but had to sell it as I could never bring myself to listen to such a shitty remaster job.
#7 | super80boy on January 19 2014 18:49:09
A truly great one off obscure American hard rock power trio album. I really like how they mixed in a few slower more melodic songs and 'Ain't Gonna Take No More' is just an ace of a tune. The slide guitar sounds in 'Promotion Man' are killer.
 
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