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Raw, powerful, and unapologetic

Neil Young’s ‘Ragged Glory’ live

NEW YORK (AP) – The venerable Neil Young offers a ragged and raw live take of his beloved 1990 album “Ragged Glory” with a new album, titled “Fu##in’ Up.”

Of course, the 2024 version doesn’t have the same semi-youthful energy that the 44-year-old Young put into the original. Maybe his voice is a little shakier, the guitar solos not quite as refined, but the songs still crackle with a power that’s frankly stunning coming from the not-so-young Young.

It’s clear that the 78-year-old and his band Crazy Horse fed off the small crowd at the Toronto club where this was recorded in November 2023. Young is obviously having a blast on stage, so much so that he decided to release the songs just months after the performance. This is from a guy who has held on to some of his most beloved live shows for half a century.

Young and Crazy Horse perform nine of the 10 “Ragged Glory” songs in nearly identical arrangements to how they were recorded back in 1990.

Only one song from the original release, “Mother Earth (Natural Anthem),” is absent on “Fu##in’ Up.” The songs have all been retitled with lyrics from the original, except for the cover of “Farmer John.”

For example, “Over and Over” becomes “Broken Circle” and “Love to Burn” becomes “Valley of Hearts.”

The somewhat profane album title is more or less the same as a song from “Ragged Glory,” just with a couple of different characters in between the “f” and the “in.” (It went from “F(asterisk)!#in’ Up” in 1990 to “Fu##kin’ Up” in 2024.)

For all of its virtues, some fans of the original may quibble with Young tackling the material 34 years later, especially since he doesn’t differ much from the originals.

“Not everyone will want to hear it because it’s not for everyone,” Young writes in the liner notes. “In the spirit it’s offered, we made this for the Horse lovers. I can’t stop it. The Horse is runnin’ — what a ride we have. I don’t want to mess with the vibe, and I am so happy to have this to share.”

It may be for a niche Neil audience, but that niche is sure to love it. And Young probably doesn’t care what the rest think.

Neil Young performs at the Bottle Rock Napa Valley Music Festival at Napa Valley Expo in Napa, California on May 25, 2019. PHOTO: AP
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