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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Neil Young’s Previously Unreleased Hitchhiker, and His Dark Malibu Years | Vulture

#4 #3 #2 on Amazon Top Sellers

Neil Young's new album 'Hitchhiker' was released today is currently #4 #3 #2 on Amazon Top Sellers. Even more surprising is that the Vinyl Edition of Neil Young's "Hitchhiker" is #17 #16 #14 on Amazon Top Sellers in all formats -- MP3, CD, etc.

From Neil Young’s Previously Unreleased Hitchhiker, and His Dark Malibu Years | Vulture by Daniel Ralston:
Dean Stockwell and Neil Young met in the late ’60s and maintained a friendship and a strong artistic admiration for each other. Young borrowed the title of a sci-fi film Stockwell was trying to make called “After the Gold Rush” for one of his most famous songs. Stockwell, a child actor who later went on to star in Compulsion with Orson Welles and Anchors Aweigh with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra and the TV series Quantum Leap, was a renaissance man. His artistic talent is evidenced on the cover for Young’s 1977 album American Stars and Bars, which he designed. The two would later co-direct the 1982 film Human Highway, a comedy starring Young (billed as his alter ego Bernard Shakey,) Russ Tamblyn, Dennis Hopper, and the band Devo. Stockwell was also with Young and Briggs the night they made Hitchhiker.

One night in 1976 Young, Briggs, and Stockwell drove up a steep canyon road to Malibu’s Indigo Ranch Studios with a bunch of booze, weed, and cocaine. Indigo Ranch, Briggs’s favorite place to record, was nestled in 60 acres of wooded canyon, allowing for the kind of deep isolation Young sought for Hitchhiker. With Briggs behind the board and Stockwell watching from the corner of the room, Young opened the ten-song solo album with a question for his closest friend, “You ready, Briggs?”

What follows is a testament to what one person can do with a guitar and his voice. Opening with the earliest recorded versions of “Pocahontas” and “Powderfinger,” two Young classics, Hitchhiker has a spare familiarity. Part of the record’s charm is hearing a song like “Powderfinger” stripped of the heavy, fuzzed-out lead that dominates the officially released version on 1979’s Rust Never Sleeps. With the muscle gone, the song’s 22-year-old narrator sounds even more frightened. When he sings the song’s key line, “I saw black and my face splashed in the sky” it’s alarming not to have that bleak sentiment covered over by the song’s signature guitar riff.

Neil Young diehards, of course, already have heard most of Hitchhiker. But apart from the songs already familiar to casual fans, worthwhile deep cuts like “Captain Kennedy” (later released on 1980’s Hawks & Doves) and “Ride My Llama” appear in stripped-down fashion. The only unreleased songs on Hitchhiker are “Hawaii,” a sad ballad about a drifter trying to get back to the islands, and the haunting “Give Me Strength,” which Young occasionally plays live.

The song “Hitchhiker,” which Young had played for Dylan years earlier, is a list of various drugs and their effect on Young’s psyche. It ends in typical Young fashion, “I wish I was an Aztec or a runner in Peru / I would build such beautiful buildings to house the chosen few.”
Full article on Neil Young’s Previously Unreleased Hitchhiker, and His Dark Malibu Years | Vulture by Daniel Ralston.

Neil Young - 1976
Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images

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At 9/10/2017 03:41:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hahahaha , that's hilarious , " his dark Malibu years " , jajajajajajaja ~ !!! , like how can you be dark in Malibu ??? beach , sun , zillion dollar houses ???

At 9/11/2017 06:21:00 AM, Blogger Peacelover Doc said...

KONWAKITON - See Charlie Sheen

At 9/11/2017 03:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hahahahahaha --- just kidding , I think we all know drug abuse is a living hell --- no matter where you are --- but , as an old bluesman , I cant pick up my guit-box without a lil drinky ...

At 9/11/2017 05:58:00 PM, Blogger Peacelover Doc said...

Understood and I don't disagree, my point was I'm sure things can suck for people living in million dollar houses on the beach.

At 9/11/2017 10:20:00 PM, Blogger mrtew said...

I received my vinyl today and it's just beautiful. Truly amazing times for vinyl records. They're like art now, both physically and sonically. Hard to believe they were ever replaced by 8-tracks etc.

At 9/12/2017 05:00:00 AM, Blogger Glenn said...

Another reviewer who thinks Captain Kennedy is different from what he hear on H&D.

Am I missing something?

At 9/12/2017 04:38:00 PM, Blogger Thos said...

They're identical Glenn, I've played them together off both cds at once. Rather nice!

At 9/13/2017 02:15:00 AM, Blogger The Metamorphic Rocker said...

As Neil would say, "Numbers add up to nothing." Still, the sales figures are a reminder that there's a market for NYA material of this vintage.

This is (the beginning of) what NY fans have been waiting and hoping for.


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