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Sunday, September 13, 2015

25th Anniversary of Ragged Glory - Neil Young & Crazy Horse: Interview

Ragged Glory - Neil Young & Crazy Horse
(Track Listing & Preview Tracks)

It's the 25th Anniversary of the release of Ragged Glory by Neil Young & Crazy Horse.

In honor of the release, an interview with Neil Young that was conducted at the time of the album's release is now streaming at In The Studio. From the promo:
Released this week in September 1990, it was the Village Voice Album of the Year 1990. Rolling Stone Album Guide gives Neil Young‘s sixth album with Crazy Horse, Ragged Glory, a max five stars. Their Kurt Loder deemed it “a monument to the spirit of the garage- to the pursuit of passion over precision”. And in ranking Ragged Glory as the #77 album of that entire decade, Rolling Stone wrote, “To kick-start the Nineties, Neil Young reunited with Crazy Horse, cranked the amps and, as a songwriter, took a look back to see if anything was still standing…The long guitar solos are this album’s real story, however, and they turn this look back into a look ahead: The guitar barrage of grunge is right around the corner.”

The very first portion of this 1990 interview reveals how many long time collaborators have passed on and out of Neil’s tight knit inner circle: pedal steel guitar player (and Neil’s son’s namesake ) Ben Keith, bass player Rick Rosas, and veteran Crazy Horse producer David Briggs are all dead now, sadly. Neil frankly addresses multiple topics head on, such as censorship and corporate compromise of rock, and is uncannily prescient with his prediction that the “green” environmental movement would re-emerge after the Earth Day false start twenty years earlier. Hear a delightfully candid Neil Young with the voices of Crazy Horse-men Billy Talbot, Ralph Molina, & Frank Sampedro from “The Days That Used to Be”.

– Redbeard
More on last night's edition of Thrashers Wheat Radio Hour.

Also, see A Perfect Summer Soundtrack: Ragged Glory .

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At 9/14/2015 06:28:00 AM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

Neil's last GREAT record - 25 years on where's all the great songs disappeared?

Ok one or two decent tracks in the intervening years but this was his last essential record.

At 9/14/2015 09:00:00 AM, Blogger Keith Burris said...

I don't think Andy could be more wrong.

NY has been incredibly productive and the last 25 years have rendered amazing depth and range of work.

To me, they are ALL essential. I love Monsanto and Storytone.

But no one who loves music could deny that Harvest Moon, Sleeps with Angels, and Silver and Gold are essential and classic.

At 9/14/2015 10:33:00 AM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

Keith we could discuss and argue about Sleeps, Harvest Moon & S & G. But Storytone? Please let's no accept this as essential it is woefully weak.

At 9/14/2015 12:08:00 PM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

@ Andy: Keith certainly mentioned a few worthy candidates: Sleeps with Angels and Harvest Moon, and I'd add Prairie Wind, Greendale and Living with War.

I understand your point, but I think you were a little too exuberant in your "gloom" of the last 25 years. That being said, personally I consider Ragged Glory a very good album, not a great one. Any album that has F##in Up, a cover of Farmer John and Mother Earth (Natural Anthem) on it can't be considered truly great. Take those away, and it's a classic...

It's easy to get caught up with terms like "essential" and "great" and with Neil, the scales can be completely flipped around depending on your perspective. I think at this stage of his career, it's much more practical to consider Neil himself as "essential" and "great" and we can debate the relative strengths and weaknesses of all his albums. Most of us can agree that his "essential" work was in the seventies, though he has sprinkled in several other great works over the more recent decades.

Take my advice
Don't listen to me

At 9/14/2015 02:22:00 PM, Blogger Andy Walters said...

Topanga good summary.

At 9/14/2015 06:13:00 PM, Blogger Paul Wallace said...

For me....and I might be in the minority here...I thought Sleeps with Angels..was better , much better than RG. I didn't care for Harvest Moon, but really liked Prairie Wind. Trying to get NY fans to agree on which albums are his futile...but sure could make for a fun evening...or week...or


At 9/14/2015 06:47:00 PM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...


I too prefer Sleeps with Angels over Ragged Glory. On my personal "Shakey" grading scale, Ragged Glory gets 4 out of 5 Shakey's and Sleeps with Angels gets 4.5.

SWA is incredibly cohesive and intense. My only "problems" with it are Trans Am and Piece of Crap. They just don't seem to fit well within the context, but other than that, everything else has the spook.

Take my advice
Don't listen to me

At 9/14/2015 08:06:00 PM, Blogger Paul Wallace said...


I could see P of C better suited for Raged Glory....but you can't get rid of Trans Am...
It's weird/erie and I'm not sure what the heck it I think of it like Mid East Vacation or The Old Homestead.

There again...with much to choose from..heck I still think Landing on Water could have been a 3.5 if the overbearing drums would have been turned down...or maybe different drummer??? Lots of


At 9/14/2015 09:19:00 PM, Blogger TopangaDaze said...

Hey now, Landing on Water is a vastly under appreciated album in Neil's canon.

To me it really signaled the beginning of his late eighties comeback. It has good to great lyrics and is sonically enjoyable. Personally, I love(d) the dominance of the drumming and it was in vogue at the time. This album was one of the few instances where I think Neil was trying to be "fashionable" to a large extent. It's actually a very consistent overall album, though in a strange way it probably appeals less to Neil fanatics than it does to those less passionate. Listen to it as background music, or listen to it intently--it really works well both ways...

Take my advice
Don't listen to me

At 9/17/2015 11:04:00 PM, Blogger SONY said...

Pick your favorite 1-a to 1-z from Neil Young to Monsanto, but Ragged Glory was a return to crank rock and roll for Neil, and after Freedom reminded everyone that the 80's were a long strange trip for music (and hair). Prefaced with the Bluenotes and followed by Harvest Moon. That's still a trifecta plus one rivaling any period of production. Grabbing RG outta the bin back then was one of the sweetest days.


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