Roger Waters – The pros and cons of hitch hiking (1984)

In truck stops and hamburger joints

1983… Pink Floyd was not working and Roger dumped the guys, whomever were left. Rick had already left. Nick and Dave were let go. Roger picked up his other concept album idea, called in som substitute players and went to work. The result was the magnificent 1984 album “The pros and cons of hitch hiking” which turned out to be Rogers last really great work.

In 1984 Roger and David released one solo album each, the great “Floyd Bowl”. Who won? Well, let me tell you, it is a really easy answer.

Roger’s album is far superior, hands down. Not even close. However David may have won anyway, he and Nick picked up the shards and rebuilt Floyd and welcomed Rick back with open arms. Pink Floyd lived on, regardless how much Roger threw tantrums.

As a fan I am totally in David’s corner. I think Roger is a crazy son of a bitch, that seems to be a narcissistic and bitter asshole. David and his godlike guitar playing is my cup of tea.

But the music must get the chance to speak for itself. And this is an amazing album. Eric Clapton on the guitar makes it a wonder to listen to. Michael Karen, Andy Newmark and Roger himself, are handling the piano, drums and bass. They are backed by Andy Brown, Ray Cooper and David Sanborn plus horns and backing vocals. The band is super tight. One of my greatest regrets is that I didn’t took the journey up to Stockholm to see Roger and Clapton live back then in 1984.

Now, time for an anecdote. The whole album, as it seems to me, has a strange beat. The album is in waltz. Yes it is crazy, but somehow it works. As a youngster at the University in Uppsala I was going to a ball at the old Castle. But, I didn’t know how to waltz! What to do? My roommate finally agreed to teach me, but we didn’t have any music for the lessons. Enter “The pros and cons of hitch hiking” and it was up for the challenge… This was before Spotify, mind you. Yes, I’m an old geezer.

This is a true concept album about people on the drift in the US. At least that is the picture I get in my head. It is so much a complete piece that I don’t even know which songs to pull out of it as my favourites. “Sexual revolution” is great, a song tested for size during “The Wall” sessions. “Every strangers eyes” is very, very good, I must hereby claim it is the best song on the album. Yes, I pick it. “Go fishing” is also great. Heck the whole album is great, the second side of the LP even more so.

One of my favourite things to do is going on road trips in the US. To drive out of Los Angeles heading East into the desert is such an awesome feeling. To go on an adventure. Or driving out of Denver North up in the mountains with Yellowstone as a probable destination. Or San Diego to San Francisco on Highway 1. An angel on a Harley. Ah, the memories, this album gives me similar feelings. I love it for it.

My rating: 9/10

Side A:

  1. 4.30 AM (Apparently they were travelling abroad)
  2. 4.33 AM (Running shoes)
  3. 4.37 AM (Arabs with knives and West German skies)
  4. 4.39 AM (For the first time today – part 2)
  5. 4.41 AM (Sexual revolution)
  6. 4.47 Am (The remains of our love)

Side B:

  1. 4.50 AM (Go fishing)
  2. 4.56 AM (For the first time today- part 1)
  3. 4.58 AM (Dunroamin, Duncarin, Dunlivin)
  4. 5.01 AM (The pros and cons of hitch hiking)
  5. 5.06 AM (Every strangers eyes)
  6. 5.11 AM (The moment of clarity)

Best songs: “The pros and cons of hitch hiking”, “Go fishing”, “Sexual revolution” and “Every strangers eyes”.

Released on April 30th, 1984

Media: LP, 1984, Album, Stereo, Gatefold

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