March 09, 2020

Neil Young & Crazy Horse - Ragged Glory (1990) ☠

Country: Canada/U.S.A.
Language: English
Genre: Alternative Country
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
.AAC 256 kbps via Mega (Link)

☠: Selected by Lass
© 1990 Reprise Records
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann
Having re-established his reputation with the musically varied, lyrically enraged Freedom, Neil Young returned to being the lead guitarist of Crazy Horse for the musically homogenous, lyrically hopeful Ragged Glory. The album's dominant sound was made by Young's noisy guitar, which bordered on and sometimes slipped over into distortion, while Crazy Horse kept up the songs' bright tempos. Despite the volume, the tunes were catchy, with strong melodies and good choruses, and they were given over to love, humor, and warm reminiscence. They were also platforms for often extended guitar excursions: "Love to Burn" and "Love and Only Love" ran over ten minutes each, and the album as a whole lasted nearly 63 minutes with only ten songs. Much about the record had a retrospective feel -- the first two tracks, "Country Home" and "White Line," were newly recorded versions of songs Young had played with Crazy Horse but never released in the '70s; "Mansion on the Hill," the album's most accessible track, celebrated a place where "psychedelic music fills the air" and "peace and love live there still"; there was a cover of the Premiers' garage rock oldie "Farmer John"; and "Days That Used to Be," in addition to its backward-looking theme, borrowed the melody from Bob Dylan's "My Back Pages" (by way of the Byrds' arrangement), while "Mother Earth (Natural Anthem)" was the folk standard "The Water Is Wide" with new, environmentally aware lyrics. Young was not generally known as an artist who evoked the past this much, but if he could extend his creative rebirth with music this exhilarating, no one was likely to complain.

*Special note from Lass.

I have many great memories with this album. My dad bought it for me back in 2003, when I was well into the Alternative Metal/Rock, Post Grunge and Nu-Metal music of the time period. My dad is a very traditional, old school man. He's very quiet and nothing ever seemed to make him angry. My mother would always say:

"You could set your dad on fire and he'd probably laugh it off  like - Hahaha! They set me on fire, Julia! Did you see it?!"

My brother would often take dad's power tools, lose them and dad would just laugh it off:

"Hahaha! Your brother lost my cordless drill! If he had any real skills, he would have lost the battery charger too but it's right here in my hand!"

 If any music was to be heard in my parents house, it was usually my mom or my sister. My dad would always leave the house and either go sit in his car or take the car for a drive if he wanted to listen to music. My dad loved the music from "his old country" but he also did enjoy Classic Rock - like Neil Young. I remember many drives with him and if he wasn't listening to the music from " his old country" he'd have Creedence Clearwater Revival on or something similar and I would hate it! This particular day in 2003, my dad had a day off from work and he picked me up from school, something he always did if he didn't go to work. Once I got into the car, he told me:

Dad: "I have something for you, nena."
Lass: "Really? What is it?"
Dad: "A CD by Neil Young & Crazy Horse"
Lass: "Boooo! I don't like that boring Rock, dad."
Dad: "No, hija. You're going to like it."
Lass: "How do you know?"
Dad: "Because I don't like it."
Lass: "What?"

And he was right. We went for some Ice Cream and drove the long way home, listening to the entire album. At first I thought it was some other band as it sounded very similar to what I was into musically at the time and I could tell it came from the 90's. It had that flavor to it. After reading the credits in the CD booklet, viewing the photos etc.. it became clear that it really was a Neil Young & Crazy Horse album. It made perfect sense as to why my Dad didn't like it. As we drove, he told me that he had actually bought a copy back in 1990 on cassette but was disappointed and got rid of it. My dad always bought music on cassette. He stopped buying music when cassette's were no longer available in stores - but anyway, when I asked him why he he got rid of the cassette, he told me:

"because it sounded like the crap your sister was listening to - just country"

He also tried to give it to my sister but she dismissed it when she saw "Neil Young & Crazy Horse" on the title. I even played it for my sister many years later, when I first got my drivers license and she too was surprised as to how good it was.

"I think this was the cassette that Dad tried to give me back in the day.... Damn it!"

Confirming my dad's story on the car ride back 2003. From that day until I moved out of my parents house, whenever me and my dad would go for a drive, we'd always play this CD. I'm sure it must have killed him inside but he never showed it. I would always ask if he wanted to play something else and he would just smile and raise the volume instead - which how my dad was and still is. Thanks dad. I love you and I miss you.

tags: neil young and crazy horse, ragged glory, 1990, flac,


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