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Thursday, May 25, 2017

NEW ALBUM: Neil Young's "Hitchhiker" Due 14 July 2017

Neil Young | Hitchhiker
Album Cover by Gary Burden |
(Click photo to enlarge)

Neil Young's newest album "Hitchhiker" is due for release on 14 July 2017 according to a listing on Diverse Vinyl. (Thanks spook_the_horse!)

Last month, we posted an intriguing image by Gary Burden | of what appeared to be a cover for the unreleased album Neil Young | Hitchhiker.

Gary Burden is Neil Young's long time art director and cover graphic artist. Also, credited is Jenice Heo, who is responsible for Art Direction, Design.

Hitchhiker includes solo, acoustic songs recorded in 1976 at the Indigo Ranch Studios in Malibu, California. Writing in "Special Deluxe", Neil Young's -- second memoir -- he comments on Hitchhiker:

"I spent the night there with David and recorded nine solo acoustic songs, completing a tape I called Hitchhiker.

It was a complete piece, although I was pretty stony on it, and you can hear it in my performances. Dean Stockwell, my friend and a great actor who I later worked on Human Highway as a co-director, was with us that night, sitting in the room with me as I laid down all the songs in a row, pausing only for weed, beer, or coke. Briggs was in the control room, mixing live on his favorite console.
The song "Hitchhiker" was released on Neil Young's 2010 album Le Noise.

After posting album art last month, a spirited discussion ensued here on TW on possible track listing. Lone Red Rider suggested:

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

Blogger Lone Red Rider added:
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!

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.

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

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.
Earlier, Scotsman wrote:
This should be a very exciting record. It's also a record where we don't really know what to expect, beyond a broad synopsis. So it is intriguing; one to eagerly anticipate.

Neil recorded acoustic songs extensively with David Briggs during the mid-seventies (with several songs being rationed out onto the next few studio albums) and it will be very interesting to see and hear which songs (and how many) are included on this compilation. It's likely there will be some surprises. Little of this material has found it's way onto bootlegs.

Neil commented in recent years that the reason Hitchhiker went unreleased for so long is that it was not "finished". Unfortunately, he decided it was necessary to "finish it" (off) in 2010 by tacking on two bland new verses and burying the song on an album that constituted the most mediocre of his career.

So this Archives release should offer a better alternative. At the opposite end of the scale.

Instead of artless songwriting dressed up in gimmicky sound effects, this record will showcase the finest of Neil's songwriting captured in a more sparse and natural production. And until then, the live 1992 versions of Hitchhiker are fine, not "unfinished" at all, capturing much of the spook and mystery that was drained off of the overblown Le Noise version.

This mid-seventies period sees Neil as a man who had worked his way into a songwriting peak, fully in the zone, magical songs coming to him as naturally as tying your shoelaces. You have to work hard to achieve that level of mastery, and you need the right people around you, too. That's not to put other periods down at all, but this record should amply showcase the heights of Neil's seventies songwriting, where he could barely put a foot wrong, artistically.

I suspect too that Neil has very fond memories of this period, and will enjoy sharing them with us.

I'm really looking forward to this one.
Let the speculation continue!

Labels: , ,


At 5/25/2017 07:51:00 PM, Blogger thrasher said...

Stefano wrote to us to say this is the efinitive track list:

Hold back the tears
Human Highway
Ride my llama
Lookout for my love
Lotta love

He says that "Stringman" and "No one Seems to Know" are not included because they are piano songs. "Captian Kennedy" is out because it was recorded later in the year. "Wiil to Love" is out also because it was recorded on May 24 1976.

Thanks Stefano! Good stuff

We'll just that anyone who posts here and nails the track list 100% will be honored with something from the TW Archives which is TBD.

At 5/25/2017 07:57:00 PM, Blogger Joe Werfelman said...

Great News. In Other News Reprise is releasing
Decade on Vinyl and CD in
June. This is no doubt the reason why
The box sets were pushed back to a September release.

At 5/25/2017 08:18:00 PM, Blogger andrea1bianco said...

I don't think that this is the correct tracklist. For sure Pocahontas was also recorded during the August sessions.
I think that the above tracklist is just a guess.
So Tired.

At 5/25/2017 08:22:00 PM, Blogger Syscrusher said...

This is pretty much the ultimate.

Though I'd like to make more than one stab at it, let's go with.

Lookout For My Love
Sedan Delivery
Cortez The Killer
The Old Homestead
Country Home
Evening Coconut

At 5/25/2017 09:04:00 PM, Blogger nanobozho said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 5/25/2017 09:06:00 PM, Blogger nanobozho said...

keen to hear the album... not in agreement about the aspersions cast at le noise... an album i have much love for...

At 5/25/2017 11:47:00 PM, Blogger Lone Red Rider said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 5/26/2017 12:01:00 AM, Blogger Lone Red Rider said...

Neil has baffled us before and we'll be there again....What surprises me about Steffano's tracklist is that it contains 3 songs previously recorded with the Horse and two previously recorded by CSNY/Stills. I would have guessed that these sessions would be more comprised of new "hot off the press" freshly written on the spot songs rather than re-recorded solo demo versions. Maybe Neil was so stoned that he forgot he previously recorded them. It happened again when Neil suggested CSNY record "White Line" in 1999. And yes, I would have added Pocahontas to the list. Maybe it was left off because the basic track was used on RNS with overdubs. Or maybe it was just done during a different full moon....

Anyway, seems like things are getting more real.

Glad you're still at it Thrasher...

At 5/26/2017 05:34:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

....Whatever is on it I'm very much looking forward to hearing it!

Would be a typical Neil Young move to leave the song Hitchhiker off the record. :-)

Hoping Neil is doing well and enjoying himself. Same goes for the rest of you.


At 5/26/2017 05:50:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beautiful weather here in England at the moment, well suited to digging out your copies of Zuma and Ragged Glory. Love And Only Love also being a very apt song to listen to in the wake of the horrifying attack in Manchester earlier this week. Some wisdom there from Mr Young.

Strangely enough I also enjoy playing Tonight's The Night and Sleeps With Angels on hot summer evenings, something about the combination just works.


At 5/26/2017 06:08:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love that version of Powderfinger. It is much more surreal than the RNS's version.
Since Neil Young seems to be finally ready to release his definitive period of masterworks '73-'80 it seems I won't be there for the fun. Like the many aging NY freaks that have burnt out(or happily faded away) over the last 8 years I'll be in that 'Big Green Country'. Fortunately this has been a very good year being a NY fan following this site. With his 'sabbatical ' reminiscing has made this site enjoyable again(are we back in the late nintees early aughts). Thanks Thrasher for the years of devotion to my favorite rock n roller. I still hate politics though.

At 5/26/2017 06:16:00 AM, Blogger Andy said...

Keen for the official tracklist. Wonder if digital/cd will be released earlier?

At 5/26/2017 07:22:00 AM, Blogger Paul • Maybe a red man said...

Looks like there are similarities with Chrome Dreams. Another favorite of mine. Is it possible that some tracks of Chrome Dreams are from the Hitchhiker-session?

At 5/26/2017 08:52:00 AM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

Could be a classic I may even invest in this - my last purchase was Fork In the Road - the rest were just dead weight to me

At 5/26/2017 09:05:00 AM, Blogger Dr. J said...

Very cool

Will this be part of the "Unreleased Album Series" Neil mentioned years ago?

At 5/26/2017 09:26:00 AM, Blogger Dan Swan said...

Wonderful news.... Fingers crossed.... Apprehensive anticipation.... Hopeful that this report materializes.... Happy with any set list from this period.... Love the cover photo.... will purchase ASAP....


At 5/26/2017 11:59:00 AM, Blogger Acoustic FeedBack said...

Timothy, are you ailing?

At 5/26/2017 02:55:00 PM, Blogger joe lookout said...

Hi folks

I spent all afternoon going thru all original LP's yellow labels (between years 76-80)+ Neil Young books + JD's Shakey and the result is: I am more confused than ever since the notes of the LPs and what the books authors tell are misleading.

Neil writes on WHP page 383 that he wrote Cortez and Hitchhiker and recorded with Crazy Horse
on page 384 that ''back at Brigss's" the did the original Powderfinger, Sedan Delivery, Born to Run and Ride my Llama,

on SD Neil writes that in 1975 he wrote Pocahontas (pag 223)and Powderfinger (page 225)
Always on SD (from page 217 to page 221) Neil discloses a never released album (Changing Highways/Homegrown) which 'might' include 'Changing Highways 'Frozen man', Daughters, Try, The Old Homestead and Star of Bethlehem and this was in 1974

Captain Kennedy (as per footnotes by Neil, in Hawks and Doves, was recorded at Indigo in 1976)
I might include Will to love (but I am not sure)
I would not exclude Stringman since it was played on 'acoustic' (piano)

I stop here thinking that, knowing Neil, the song Hitchhiker won't be part of the new album!!!!

At 5/26/2017 04:55:00 PM, Blogger nick said...

According to the music site Exclaim!, the 'supposed' tracklist is:

Captain Kennedy
Give Me Strength
Ride My Llama
Human Highway
The Old Country Waltz

They say the tracklisting comes from Thrasher's Wheat, but no one here mentioned a song called Hawaii, as far as I know.

If this album is released, I hope it will be available on CD too.

Archives Guy, where are you??

At 5/26/2017 05:08:00 PM, Blogger joe lookout said...




At 5/26/2017 05:14:00 PM, Blogger joe lookout said...

Price £TBC Bookmark and Share
Label Reprise
Catalogue Number NYHITCH001
Release Date 14 July 2017
Format Single LP
Add to Basket
Unreleased solo acoustic album recorded in 1976 featuring 2 previously unreleased songs!

At 5/26/2017 05:28:00 PM, Blogger Shoffology said...

Yeah, based on the "2 previously unreleased songs" mentioned on the Diverse Vinyl page, I think all of the tracklists here are incorrect.

At 5/26/2017 05:37:00 PM, Blogger Syscrusher said...

Hey Joe,
Remember Milly?

As I understand it, through the sources you mentioned, Hitchhiker is a 1975 song and it was likely written in time to be included in the Crazy Horse Zuma sessions. Pocahontas and Powderfinger are also '75 tunes recorded by Crazy Horse.

But I don't think that excludes them from being included on this new Hitchhiker album. I feel like Hitchhiker was not a session set up to record new songs for an album but rather a session set for Neil to play whatever he felt like while getting high with his buddies. It's more of a tape, a record, than an album.
I August 1976, when we assume this tape was made, Neil was fresh off the Stills-Young tour where he had written and debuted at least a couple new tunes, Campaigner and Bite The Bullet. Those could be included here...
But maybe he was road weary and dug out Albuquerque and Don't Be Denied, who knows.
I think Neil, given his recording philosophy, wouldn't leave new songs unrecorded for very long, he could cut them on the ranch the day he wrote them if he wanted to. So it's likely anything on Hitchhiker was also recorded at some other time. Those are my thoughts on it anyway.

Could he have played these songs?

Don't Be Denied
Cortez The Killer
Like A Hurricane
Barstool Blues
Country Home
Sedan Delivery

At 5/26/2017 05:41:00 PM, Blogger joe lookout said...

reading the different unofficial songlists it would appear that

Human Highway
Ride my llama

should definitely be there

Captain Kennedy
Give Me Strength
The Old Country Waltz

are in the song list of 'Exclaim'


Hold back the tears
Lookout for my love
Lotta love

are in the song list of '' and ''

it is getting intriguing!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At 5/26/2017 08:38:00 PM, Blogger feastoffools said...

> burying the song on an album that constituted the most mediocre of his career.
We're talking about the song Hitchhiker, right? So 'Le Noise' must be the album condemned as mediocre. Wow, isn't it interesting how perspectives differ among Neil fans. This life-long Neil listener finds 'Le Noise' to be one of his most interesting, albeit in a decidedly not-your-usual-Neil-album sort of way. For me, it's a perfect manifestation of Mr. Young's seemingly perpetual musical restlessness. That being said, I'm certainly looking forward to 'Hitchhiker', the album, if it ever really does get released. And as we all know, with Neil, until it's actually in our hands, it's really only a dream.

At 5/26/2017 09:29:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 5/26/2017 09:31:00 PM, Blogger Lone Red Rider said...

The tracklisting on Exclaim! meets the criteria for 2 unreleased songs mentioned on Diverse Vinyl. "Hawaii" and "Give Me Strength". I have no idea why Neil would be playing "Give Me Strength" in 1976. I don't even get why it surfaced on the Crazy Horse tour earlier that year. But I guess he could have whipped it out during the sessions. "Hawaii", however....WTF. Gotta say that this title has never been in circulation or even documented in any book or interview we casual rusties are aware of. So...could this be legit? Or someone fking with us?

At 5/26/2017 10:05:00 PM, Blogger Shoffology said...

Technically Hawaii was released on the CSNY 1974 set as Hawaiian Sunrise. Unless it's a different song entirely (or they're not counting that for some reason).

At 5/26/2017 10:28:00 PM, Blogger Syscrusher said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 5/26/2017 10:32:00 PM, Blogger Syscrusher said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 5/26/2017 10:36:00 PM, Blogger Syscrusher said...

The song Hawaii is mentioned in the book Shakey, pg 447. It is a Homegrown era song. It is most likely a completely unheard song as McDonough also mentions the song Hawaiian Sunrise by name.

At 5/26/2017 11:31:00 PM, Blogger Lone Red Rider said...

It wouldn't be the first time Neil has released the same song with two different titles."Country Home"-Ragged Glory , "My Country Home"-Earth. But

At 5/27/2017 04:55:00 AM, Blogger Glenn said...

An acoustic Sedan Delivery? Now, I'd like to hear that.

At 5/27/2017 12:06:00 PM, Blogger andrea1bianco said...

I have read the page.From the context,Hawaii seems a different title for Hawaiian Sunrise. Hawaiian Sunrise was written during the CSNY rehearsals for the 1974 Tour. But it should be nice if Hawaii were a totally different song.
So Tired

At 5/27/2017 01:36:00 PM, Blogger Syscrusher said...

I'm not so sure. In the index they have a listing for 'Hawaii' and for 'Hawaiian Sunrise'. Here's hoping anyway.

At 5/28/2017 01:23:00 PM, Blogger Mike_M said...

1. Pocahontas

2. Powderfinger

3. Captain Kennedy

4. Hawaii

5. Give Me Strength

6. Ride My Llama

7. Hitchhiker

8. Campaigner

9. Human Highway

10. The Old Country Waltz

At 5/28/2017 05:56:00 PM, Blogger Lone Red Rider said...

The above tracklisting is now listed on diverse vinyl with a bit more specificity.

1. Pocahontas
2. PowderFinger
3. Captain Kennedy
4. Hawaii
5. Give Me Strength
1. Ride My Llama
2. Hitchhiker / Like An Inca V1
3. Campaigner
4. Human Highway
5. The Old Country Waltz

Assuming this is correct, blogger Kahunasunset is closest to the pin, from his speculation on the original topic.

At 5/29/2017 12:49:00 PM, Blogger John said...

This is something I should really know but is the Decade version of "Campaigner" from this recording session or can we expect another version? Or the full version of the one that was on Decade (I read recently there are some copies of Decade out there with an extra verse in "Campaigner")?


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