In 1976, Neil Young was hitting the tail end of a remarkable five-year streak which saw him release Harvest, the ‘Ditch Trilogy’ of Time Fades Away, Tonight’s the Night, and On The Beach, surprise success Zuma, and a collaborative album with Stephen Stills.
His 1977 album American Stars ‘N Bars was compiled from two-and-a-half years of disparate studio sessions, and was mostly considered a haphazard failure upon release. At the time nobody knew he was sitting on the excellent Hitchhiker, a nine-song album he recorded in one stoned evening at Indigo Ranch Studios in Malibu then shelved for close to forty years. Hearing him detailing it, he’d probably forgotten about it, too.
“I spent the night there and recorded nine solo acoustic songs,” Young explained in 2014 of the sessions, “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.”
A few of the songs, such as ‘Powderfinger’ and ‘Lotta Love’ found homes on subsequent records, but it’ll nice being able to hear the “complete piece” as Neil intended it, when the album comes out, onn July 14. See the tracklist below.
02 “Hold Back The tears”
03 “Human Highway”
05 “Ride My Llama”
06 “Lookout For My Love”
07 “Lotta Love”