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Following 2016’s Peace Trail, a tossed-off album made live in the studio with a pair of studio musicians, and one of the worst records of his career, Young has returned to his vaults — which must rival Prince‘s for the amount of unreleased material stored in there — for Hitchhiker, a collection of songs recorded in a single day in August 1976 that feature just Young, his acoustic guitar and occasional harmonica.
Eight of the album’s 10 tracks showed up on later albums: Opener “Pocahontas” was on 1979’s Rust Never Sleeps, closer “The Old Country Waltz” arrived on 1977’s American Stars ‘n Bars and the title track had to wait almost 35 years before it was reworked for Le Noise. This is nothing new for Young; many of his albums were stitched together with earlier songs, including his greatest LP, After the Gold Rush, which contained tracks recorded at a handful of various sessions with different groups.
Hitchhiker comes from a particularly fertile period for Young. In addition to classics like On the Beach, Tonight’s the Night and Zuma, which were released in the two years leading up to it, other legendary albums — like Homegrown and Chrome Dreams — were recorded and shelved from around this time. Hitchhiker sounds more like a collection of demos rather than an actual album (which is pretty much the case), but there’s no denying how great many of these songs are.
3. Captain Kennedy
5. Give Me Strength
6. Ride My Llama
9. Human Highway
10. The Old Country Waltz