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Hitchhike To Rhome

24 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 8, 1999
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Editorial Reviews

Many bands blend country and rock, but few brew this concoction as well as the Old 97's on Hitchhike to Rhome. Energetic frontman Rhett Miller commands attention as a charismatic vocalist and clever songwriter on tracks such as "St. Ignatius" and "If My Heart Was a Car." On the album's highlight "Stoned," he even manages to successfully infuse the adjectives "dope" and "fly" into a country song. Bass player Murry Hammond supplies smooth harmonies throughout the album, in addition to lead vocals on the excellent Merle Haggard cover "Mama Tried." Musically, the Old 97's are capable of shifting comfortably between bluegrassy honky tonk ("Doreen") and the occasional serene ballad ("Dancing With Tears.") Ken Bethea's guitar leads the band throughout their rowdy ride while Philip Peeples' steady drumming manages to somehow hold everything together. Other standouts include "Drowning in the Days," "Hands Off," and "504." Further demonstrating their country roots, there is even a secret hidden version of Webb Pierce's "Tupelo County Jail" after the last listed track. Though their debut sounds more sparse and simplified than their subsequent releases, Hitchhike to Rhome showcases the spark of a truly original band with endless potential. ~ Michael Frey, All Music Guide


Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 8, 1999)
  • Original Release Date: November 1, 1994
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: IDOL RECORDS
  • ASIN: B00000JJ8P
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #182,381 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By thisismyname on December 29, 2003
Format: Audio CD
If you're an alt.country fan and you don't own this album, then what the heck is wrong with you? This ranks up there with any of Uncle Tupelo's albums, though certainly different, but equally as good.
I knew little about the 97's when I bought this album. A friend of mine recomended that I go out and purchase an album of theirs, and this was my first. I went out the next day and bought all of their other albums, driving all across town to complete my collection.
This album has a very distinct Texas sound, and I knew right away where these cats were from...ok well the title helped a bit too.
If you've never heard of the 97's then start here. This album is the best of the best, and they start to go downhill after this, with maybe the exception of Too Far to Care. Not to say that the other albums are bad. On the contrary, actually, each are very distinct and good within their own right, but when you make an album as perfect as this it is hard to follow up. Don't buy just this album, go get 'em all!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Starhead on February 17, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is possibly the 97's best & a must have in the alt country genre. Back before they signed a major label deal & descended into pop rock radio fare these guys made a few records that had brains, soul spirit & twang to spare. Don't hesitate... it'll make you smile & forget all the bands that tried to follow.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 3, 1999
Format: Audio CD
This is one of the best bands that I have heard in ages. Although I do not consider myself to be a C/W fan, I loved this album the moment the music began entering my ears. The album is a little rougher around the edges than their later work, but the edginess gives the songs more texture. Not a bad song on the disc. I also highly recommend their CD, Wreck Your Life.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By ethelredd on July 21, 2001
Format: Audio CD
My 23 year old punk rock daughter picked out hitchike to rhome for my 51st birthday gift. Desperate times, has me! Wish the worst, superlative! The old 97's have a sound that is unique with undertones of the garage bands I used to love, only almost better. The vocals are desperately sweet and the music makes me crazy happy... One note, my CD has about 2 1/2 minutes of dead time between if my heart was a car and desperate times. But I don't mind cause just about the time my mind is wandering on to something else the music kicks back in. I know where my tax rebate is going, more old 97's!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Smaug on December 31, 2001
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is my favorite CD. I never thought I'd find anything even remotely country I would like. I like mostly Classical, rock, and metal. The songs are all original. On this CD, there are 3 songs that are outstanding, (Miss Molly, Doreen, and Mama Tried) and the rest are really good. For owners of the Old 97s' newer CDs this one is not the same. The newer ones are more like pop, this one has a definite country/bluegrass influence, but without being country per se. It's hard to explain.
By the way, I just discovered that Mama Tried is a cover of an old Merle Haggard song, you may want to check out his greatest hits album. I might get that one soon too.
I'm glad I read the other Amazon reviews and got this one.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 18, 2000
Format: Audio CD
*Hitchhike to Rhome* is one of the classic "alt. country" albums and a defining document in the band's history. Fans of the Old 97's newer releases may not be prepared for this album's fusion of raw country aesthetic and indie-rock abandon, and even genre fanatics will note some limitations. Mediocre production and immature arrangements don't always do the material full justice: Rhett Miller hadn't yet learned to use his voice, and the guitars don't always sound as great as they should. The key to Old 97's records, though, is Miller's songwriting, which has some fine moments here. Not many albums can reinvent classic genres ("Doreen," a classic paean to the joys of an underage girl's affections), resurrect the tried-and-true (a loving treatment of "Mama Tried"), and top it all off by sneaking in what may be country music's first, last, and only allusion to Plato's Allegory of the Cave (the otherwise unpretentious "St. Ignatius"). The album's major flaw is its inclusion of tracks which should've remained on the cutting room floor ("Hands Off", "Desperate Times"). A band of this caliber is allowed a few lapses, though, and the album remains a rare achievement in country-rock songcraft.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 30, 2001
Format: Audio CD
In a world where pre-fab pop and processed hip-hop get 90 percent of radio air time it's nice to come across a gem like the Old 97's. This album is rough, raw, and in the end unbelievably refreshing. The vocals aren't stellar, the guitars aren't the greatest ever, but the songwriting is sensitive and the lyrics are witty and wise. Like many have said, there are certain tracks which will haunt your mind and make you listen to the album over and over. Some of my favorites: '504' which can make you remember New Orleans even if you've never been there, the belt-along 'Wish the Worst', and the catchy 'Doreen' which makes me want to break out my guitar and head down south. For certain this album is a treasure.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By john on June 23, 2000
Format: Audio CD
After hearing their more recent albums, Old 97's "Hitchhike to Rome," sounded raw and unfocused. Before long, though, the songs came through. One by one they kept creeping into my head, drawing me back to the album to hear the source. I'll admit the delivery is suspect in some cases (the brilliant "wish the worst" for example). Some of these songs need to be released in their present live incarnations to do them justice. For now just sing along real loud and resist the urge to drawl out that second verse in "Wish the Worst".
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