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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Possible Track Lists for Neil Young's Unreleased "Hitchhiker" Album

Neil Young - "Hitchhiker"
Farm Aid 25 - Milwaukee, October 2, 2010

Earlier this week, we posted an intriguing image by Gary Burden | of what appears to be a cover for the unreleased album Neil Young | Hitchhiker.

We know the unreleased album has nine solo acoustic songs, per Neil Young's autobiography Special Deluxe: A Memoir of Life & Cars.

Naturally, this all generated quite a bit of discussion of what possible songs might be included.

Lone Red Rider suggests:

Ride My Llama
Captain Kennedy
Hold Back The Tears
Too Far Gone
Will to Love

To which Syscrusher said:
If we go with the August '76 date and assume he plays 9 of his newest unreleased songs then the track list might be something like this:

One Way Ride
Too Far Gone
Sad Movies
Evening Coconut
Bite The Bullet
Hold Back The Tear

But I have Hitchhiker being written in 1975 at the same time as Cortez The Killer. This opens up the possibilities for a more interesting track list. If I could give him a 9 song set it might go like:

Cortez The Killer
Lookout For My Love
Ride My Llama
Sedan Delivery
Country Home
Evening Coconut
Thanks Lone Red Rider, Syscrusher and everyone else who contributed!

So let the speculation continue on Possible Track Lists for Neil Young's Unreleased "Hitchhiker" Album.

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At 4/25/2017 09:27:00 PM, Blogger Lone Red Rider said...

I was mainly leaning on Shakey and The Visual Documentary as my sources for what was recorded at Indigo or recorded in that rough timeframe. If there is anything I question in the "LRR tracklist", it is Stringman and Will To Love. Both of those basic tracks (at least the versions in circulation) were NOT recorded at Indigo. The overdubs from Will To Love were recorded at Indigo. The Stringman we have heard was recorded live and then overdubbed with guitar and BG vocals. So those may not be a part of Hitchhiker. It would be very cool if there were a song on those tapes which we have never heard before!

At 4/25/2017 09:38:00 PM, Blogger Lone Red Rider said...

The version of Stringman in circulation (with overdubs) seems like the basic track was from the last night at ODEON. I'm guessing that we would get this one on Odeon-Budokan or/and as a standalone track with the overdubs.

At 4/26/2017 12:45:00 AM, Blogger Babbo B. said...

Wouldn't get too hung up on a nine-song limit - Neil says in "Special Deluxe" that he recorded nine solo acoustic songs that night to "complete" a tape he called "Hitchhiker" (which may or may not have been intended as an actual album release). That suggests he could have recorded other material beforehand for the project. And who knows how the concept may have evolved since then, he could be using the "Hitchhiker" title now for a compilation of recordings from various sessions, including the song of that name (which "Shakey" calls "the ultimate acoustic track of the 1975-77 period at Indigo").

At 4/26/2017 06:31:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a live acoustic version of Hitchhiker from 1992 that perhaps hints at what the mid-seventies version will sound like:

Notice how naked Neil is here; no sound-effects or bombastic performance to hide the essence of the song behind, to make it safer and slicker and more palatable. Just sparse acoustic guitar and vocals, occasional chilling bursts of harmonica. And the spirit of Neil Young; alone and vulnerable. Building in intensity to a thrilling and open-ended climax. The essence of the song is captured perfectly. It's haunting, isn't it?

That's what he is capable of. That's why we are all here.

Listening to this song, this 1992 performance, you can fully relate to why he has held this song back (in it's non-watered-down form) for so long. It must be like seeing your own ghost. At the same time, of course, we are all willing him on. Because that is what great art is about, and it doesn't come easy.


At 4/26/2017 09:47:00 AM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 4/26/2017 09:51:00 AM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 4/26/2017 09:57:00 AM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

These come from Neil young's official web site..... 7 years ago...

July 23, 2010

Four unreleased albums from this period are being rebuilt and will be available in the NYA Special Release Series. Chrome Dreams, Homegrown and Oceanside-Countryside are the three unreleased studio albums. Also from this period is the unreleased Odeon-Budokan live recording produced by David Briggs and Tim Mulligan. These albums initially will be released in vinyl from analog masters as they originally were created for that format. So now is the time to get your new phonograph player. The new players, built with today's technology, are exceptionally good.

"Toast" is coming, a dark Crazy Horse classic for the ages. This first NYA "Special Edition" is the beginning of a new series of unreleased albums. 2010.

At 4/26/2017 10:30:00 AM, Blogger Syscrusher said...

What about a track list for 'In My Neighbourhood'. Unrealeased album that would morph into 'Zuma'?

Imagine a full Crazy Horse album including electric versions of:

Cortez The Killer
Little Wing
Captain Kennedy
Sedan Delivery
Ride My Llama

At 4/26/2017 10:49:00 AM, Blogger thrasher said...

@ Lone Red Rider - 1st, it's really wonderful to see you again our friend LRR. Thanks for dropping by. Your Neil scholarship and deep research is always appreciated.

The Indigo sessions are like another sort of holy grail. Will they ever see the light of day? funny how we've been discussing this for like 20 years?!

Hope we get Stringman someday, with or w/o overdubs.

@ Babbo B. - if we don't get hung up on a nine-song limit, then what can we get worked up about these days?! Seriously, though, numbers add up to nothing. While 9 songs seems to make a good vinyl album length, maybe we'll get more of a CD length release with these?

@ Scotsman - thanks for the link.

It's been awhile since we listened to this rarity.

You're right about this being the raw version. Also, we can understand why the song was never performed again until Le Noise tour.

Did you notice the audience cheering the drug references? Certainly that wasn't probably what Neil was expecting as a reaction.

During the Le Noise tour performances of Hitchhiker, we don't recall any audience cheers of the drug refs. Maybe the audience matured finally? Altho we know what gets the big cheer during ATGR.

@ Dan - thanks for digging this up. 7 years and still no Toast?! Will that ever surface? Or does it really exist? There were some who felt Toast was a hoax because it was posted on April 1. But later Neil confirmed it was legit.

At 4/26/2017 01:54:00 PM, Blogger Jonathan said...

Hey Thrasher - I was in the pit for several 'Le Noise' concerts....I recall a huge cheer at every show during the California smoking grass while the summer passed verse....

At 4/26/2017 02:58:00 PM, Blogger Babbo B. said...

@Syscrusher: What you're talking about sounds a lot like what Neil is calling "Dume," which he has mentioned along with "Hitchhiker" as a release related to Archives 2 - according to WHP, it includes several of the songs you mentioned plus "Born to Run."

At 4/26/2017 02:59:00 PM, Blogger adrianfish said...

Hitchhiker has always fascinated me....Probably too much

.It would have been a gem in the 78 Boarding House shows but i guess NY haved moved on by then

.Did the original 75 version have the Like an Inca ending and how did that then morph into the 7 year later LAI recordings. Or was the LAI ending added when HH surfaced in 92?

.Was HH tried for Islands in the sun, dropped but used for LAI at that time

.While unlikely, was HH recorded in 92 with a view to being on Harvest Moon and then dropped as was the case with Silver and Gold....Depression Blues...Train of Love etc....Lyrically it's the furthest of these four from the groove of HMoon but...The time line would suggest it was dusted off in May June 92, repeatedly roadtested in June then promptly binned Played five times in seven nights then that's it. Focused.

.The often asked question, especially if HH wasn't a H Moon recording but a deep cut dusted of in 92 " So what was the trigger that lead to a unreleased 17 year old song suddenly appearing and suddenly disappearing from the mind and setlist?"

.A micro claimtofame of mine is Stockholm 2003 to give a big yell for HH....Ignored...As was the next night's Oslo yell....Instructions passed to the Late Great Old Dutch Master Cor vd Giessen who helped in Hamburg and coaxed NY who to para phrase "Hitchhiker" " too many words". " Sing the ones you know then". NY noodled but left it only to at he next show in Berlin deliver a good but slightly ragged version. The playful war of attrition worked. And lasted as on 28 September 2003 second song in starts as HH but drops and morphs into the oddest HOG I've ever heard. Still in his head.

.May 2010 and night one the merchandise screams Hitchhiker and there it came damn loud and electric with added last verse about family and ever faithful wife and then on the Le Noise album....Again how and why revaluated or was it in his mind from the above NY 2010 quote re Archives 2 where maybe in spring they had worked on Archives2 and it became a consideration for Le Noise..Is the theory on LN that it's started acoustic autumn 2009 and the electric songs were added later ?

.Imagine a full on NYCH version ...Done at a Crime in the City / Going Home pace. Have they ever tried it?

.From me it's always been a top 10 NY song. Lyrically and musically. Storytelling at its best

Any adds to my mullings appreciated

At 4/26/2017 04:45:00 PM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

Funny, I could have sworn that I first heard Hitchhiker in '87 at Merriweather Post Pavilion. For years I've been telling people about that show and hearing that song. Obviously it turns out my memory isn't as good as I thought it was.

I loved the shows from '87 and '92 at Merriweather, but now I'll have to re-evaluate my memories. The '92 show may now have the slight edge thanks to Hitchhiker, but it's a close call. '87 had the then unreleased This Note's for You and a thrilling and chilling Tonight's the Night that I wasn't expecting to hear...

Well, just shows you how you can be "sure" of something for so long, only to find out...

So, I guess it brings new truth and meaning to my signature:

"Take my advice
don't listen to me"

PS: For a somewhat contrary view, I tend to prefer the LeNoise version to the '92 acoustic version. The added friends and family lyrics work for me, and are especially interesting today when compared to 2010. He was thankful then and I'm sure he's thankful now, just in different ways.

At 4/26/2017 05:07:00 PM, Blogger Syscrusher said...

Yes Babbo,it's probably very close to the "Dume" tape, but I figured that "Dume" might've been a later, Archives related creation, whereas "In My Neighbourhood" was mentioned in 1975 as an album he was working on. (Off the top of my head try Cameron Crowe Rolling Stone interview. Neil mentions the title Pocahontas John Eirlichman and Me ) That being said, Dume is probably more likely to see release than Neighbourhood.
The songlist is just an educated guess on my part. They've all been played electric except for Captain Kennedy.

At 4/26/2017 05:26:00 PM, Blogger Syscrusher said...

Great story adrianfish, that's a macro claimtofame, you essentially added that version of HH into existence. I love the 2003 version, it's a better recording, a little slower, meandering maybe. The '92 version has the spook though.
As far as HH '92 goes, I think an interesting story to note is the one in Special Deluxe (?) about how Neil found a page with the first verse of Unknown Legend, and the melody immediately came back to him. So he must have been digging thru the Archives at that time, and he decided to record Unknown Legend from '75 and also You And Me from the '71 period. Hitchhiker had already been recorded so maybe he didn't return to it, like you say it doesn't really fit on Harvest Moon. Or maybe he did, cause he did, eventually. Anyway thought that relates.
Didn't he also play 'Kansas' in '92?

At 4/26/2017 07:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

adrianfish: Neil started Le Noise with the acoustic songs, but brought along his electric guitar, as well. After recording Hitchhiker they decided to pursue the electric theme further, and Neil rush-wrote the rest of the material of the album in order to have something to record.

Had he stuck with his original acoustic intentions then perhaps the songwriting and musical arrangements on the album would have been better. It's one of those occasions where I wish he'd taken a bit more time.

Topanga: I don't hate the Le Noise version myself, I just think the acoustic/1992 version captures the essence of the song better, goes deeper, and is a more moving listen.


At 4/26/2017 07:53:00 PM, Blogger Andy said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 4/26/2017 08:03:00 PM, Blogger Andy said...

The track hitchhiker is top notch Neil. The acoustic has that Neil Young spook that we all love. The electric Le Noise version is fantastic in a different, that guitar tone is awesome. So exciting that we will potential hear this record this much goodness still in the vaults. Speaking of goodness does anyone have a link to any of the often bootlegged versions of interstate?

At 4/26/2017 08:06:00 PM, Blogger Andy said...

Agree. Love the acoustic version. Hitchhiker is the high point of that record. Lanois does toooooo much meddling with neil's sound and strays away from 'the source'. Still solid record though.

At 4/27/2017 01:19:00 AM, Blogger Babbo B. said...

@Syscrusher: Good memory - Rolling Stone #193, Aug. 14, 1975:

Crowe: Have you got a name for the new album?

Young: I think I’ll call it My Old Neighborhood. Either that or Ride my Llama. It’s weird, I’ve got all these songs about Peru, the Aztecs and the Incas. Time travel stuff. We’ve got one song called “Marlon Brando, John Ehrlichman, Pocahontas and Me”. I’m playing a lot of electric guitar and that’s what I like best. Two guitars, bass and drums. And it’s really flying off the ground too. Fucking unbelievable. I’ve got a bet with Elliot and it’ll be out before the end of September.

(Zuma, of course, came out that November.)

At 4/27/2017 08:15:00 AM, Blogger Syscrusher said...

Nice dig up @Babbo B. Really makes me think there is an electric Pocahontas and maybe even an electric Hitchhiker.

At 4/27/2017 08:36:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

@ babbo friend, I ve released an entire book about zuma and after the gold rush albums here in my old neighborhood was the first title of what became Zuma ...the full process included powderfinger, born to run, sedan delivery ( yes another version) , ride my llama, danger bird, barstool, lookin for a love, drive back, stupid girl, don t cry no tears, cortez, pocahontas, human highway, l.a. And ocean girls...

At 4/27/2017 12:15:00 PM, Blogger zuma11 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.


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