Album review: Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Ragged Glory (1990)

 

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 27, 1990

By Steve Newton

So what if Canuck native Neil Young deserted this fair country for the more lucrative land down south; to reinterpret Ronnie Van Zant: “A northern man don’t need him around, anyhow”. Still, whenever Young saddles up with that beautiful beast called Crazy Horse, it’s hard not to think highly of him, and beam proudly as though he were Canada’s finest musical export.

Questions of citizenry fade pretty fast when the lovely noise of the latest Young/Crazy Horse collaboration, Ragged Glory, comes spouting out of your home speakers. This here’s down-home rock at its best: tattered and torn, gritty and gutsy, with as little polish as possible. Young, one of the most underrated lead guitarists around, has a field day with his cranked Les Paul and effects pedals, tearing things up over the ragged rhythms of co-guitarist Frank “Poncho” Sampedro. The sparse rhythms of bassist Billy Talbot and drummer Ralph Molina are the perfect backdrop for the two guitarists’ flights of frenzy, and for Young’s craggy, unkempt vocals.

Aside from the well-meaning but tiresome “Mother Earth (Natural Anthem)”, there’s nary a dog in the bunch. Prime cuts include “Country Home”, “Over and Over”, “Mansion on the Hill”, and “Love and Only Love”.

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