Neil Young – Hitchhiker – Album Review by Killian Laher
Not a new album as such, but a previously unearthed collection of acoustic Neil Young songs from 1976. He was clearly on a roll and his record company was unable to keep up with the volume of new material. Many of these songs will be familiar to fans as they featured on albums released subsequently. The music here is generally of the highest quality, right from the opener, acoustic ballad Pocahontas. Young sounds endearingly jaded on Powderfinger and Ride My Llama, while Captain Kennedy, an acoustic fingerpicked ballad originally from his relatively unheralded Hawks & Doves album deserves its spotlight here amongst more cohesive material.
Two previously unheard songs Hawaii and Give Me Strength are worthy of inclusion, as are acoustic takes on Powderfinger and Hitchhiker.
A solo Human Highway sounds better here than draped in country sounds on 1978’s Comes A Time. The Old Country Waltz is a piano ballad which provides a little variety.
Not sure this entirely works as an album, as the material is all solo and acoustic. But the quality of the songs and playing is staggering, it really is Young at close to his best. Only the Richard Nixon references in Campaigner dates this album. A collection like this serves as a reminder of what an important artist Neil Young has been over the years.
3. Captain Kennedy
5. Give Me Strength
6. Ride My Llama
9. Human Highway
10. The Old Country Waltz