August 11th, 1976.
Booze, cocaine, weed, friends and inspiration. The record begins with a question, “you ready?”
And then a Martin starts to strum.
I first heard Neil Young in 1978. I was 15 and beginning my love affair with music. Someone bought me ‘Rust Never Sleeps’ and it changed things.
I had never heard anything like the distorted joyous fury of ‘Hey, Hey, My, My (Into the Black)’ or ‘Powderfinger’, and it opened a door. I wanted more. More guitars, more tube-amp break-up and more noise.
Thanks to Neil Young, I sought out the Rolling Stones, The Sex Pistols, The Clash, The Velvet Underground and, later, Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr and more.
Deep in my heart, though, I love the simple sound of a lone voice and guitar, and still think it’s the best test of a song. If it works there, it’ll work anywhere.
So, ‘Hitchhiker’ is a sweet treat. It is the sound of sun soaked, hippy happiness that I experienced for a few years in Fremantle, Western Australia in the late 70’s.
There’s none of Dylan’s righteous anger at inequality, none of Lou Reed’s heroin dark, nothing twee or frilly like James Taylor. It’s just ragged, beautiful, lonesome, uplifting and blue.
So, if you want to sit back, chill out and hear a man sing his songs without barriers – this is your chance.
It’s a time capsule, and it’s awesome.