Neil Young: Hitchhiker (Reprise) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Sunday, October 1st, 2023  

Neil Young



Jul 11, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Hitchhiker is the rare archival release that can appeal to both rabid superfans and casual listeners. Recorded over the course of a single night in 1976, it captures Neil Young in a stony mood-just a man and his guitar, a piano (and a few mind altering substances) live in the studio. All but two of the songs have appeared on other recordings, but many of the previously released tunes shine brighter here in their earlier incarnations than they do on mid-period records where they’ve appeared before. Young’s acoustic renditions of favorites like “Powderfinger” and others that later appeared on Rust Never Sleeps also fare especially well. Of the two “new” songs, “Hawaii” could have stayed in the scrap heap, but “Give Me Strength” is a pure gift from classic-era Young.

The title, Hitchhiker, can be interpreted literally, in a way. The song cycle finds Young traveling across both the time and space of America, from Pocahontas to the doomed gunboat casualty in “Powderfinger” to (then) contemporary politics, admitting that “even Richard Nixon has got soul.” Over 10 simple songs, Young seems to be scratching for America’s soul, as well, lamenting butchered buffalo while simultaneously finding an icon in Marlon Brando. As Young’s convictions towards peace and environmental efforts remain unswayed 40-plus years later, Hitchhiker feels less like an artifact and more like a missing piece of an ongoing conversation. (

Author rating: 8/10

Rate this album
Average reader rating: 8/10


Submit your comment

Name Required

Email Required, will not be published


Remember my personal information
Notify me of follow-up comments?

Please enter the word you see in the image below:

July 18th 2017

where can you buy this? I don’t see it anywhere??