Neil Young - Hitchhiker review: back in a boozy, druggy haze

Tue, Sep 5, 2017, 13:24



Neil Young


Singer / Songwriter

Apparently the Malibu recording session flowed with “weed, beer and coke” and drugs do get fond mention. But whatever was driving him that August night in 1976, Neil Young was on fire. His old comrade, David Briggs, was at the control desk when Young gave solo acoustic runouts to these 10 tracks, eight of which would surface on subsequent albums and many, such as Pocahontas, Powderfinger, Campaigner and Human Highway, would become important songs in his oeuvre.

More elaborate versions supplanted these raw recordings. However, 41 years later the originals still sound great, Young’s guitar-playing may not be perfect but he is in the zone, his voice locked into the music. Even the unreleased Hawaii and Give Me Strength justify their belated unveiling.

Anoraks will be riveted, of course, but this accurately styled “gem” from the archive is much more than a curiosity.