Recorded at Plywood Digital, Broken Arrow Ranch on April 27, 1990
According to Jimmy McDonough’s invaluable Shakey biography, Ralph Molina and Billy Talbot were so pissed at Neil Young after being replaced for the Bluenotes in early 1988 that they weren’t even sure that they wanted to play with him again. So when Neil decided he wanted to do another Crazy Horse album in early 1990, they all met at the Harris Ranch Restaurant on the I-5 to discuss the possibility of recording together again.
Which, of course, they did. I mean, if your choice is recording with Neil Young or not recording with Neil Young, it really isn’t much of a choice, tbh.
Recorded in the equipment barn in Neil’s ranch in a little over a week, Ragged Glory stands as perhaps the most coherent-sounding album of his entire career: just Neil, Poncho, Billy & Frank playing and singing a stellar batch of Neil Young songs, along with one intentionally dumb cover just for the fuck of it.
To me, Ragged Glory combined the garage-pop hooks of Zuma, the thick sound of Re*ac*tor, the songwriting chops of Rust Never Sleeps, and the jams of Everybody Knows This is Nowhere. To me, it is the definitive NYCH album, kicking of with the massive jangly hook of “Country Home,” a song that Neil & Crazy Horse first played together on their 1976 tour, and most recently played in Fresno a couple of months ago.
I’m thankful for my country home
It gives me peace of mind
Somewhere I can walk alone
And leave myself behind
“Country Home” sets the pace for Ragged Glory: the sound of four old friends (and sometimes enemies) playing in a room together, harmonizing on the chorus, everybody watching Neil as he takes a solo after every chorus, wondering if it’s going to be a long solo or a short solo, ready to go in any direction he wants to take them.
In 1990 — which at the time felt like a down year for music — a song like “Country Home” was exactly what I needed, and I blasted Ragged Glory every chance I could get.
“Country Home” live in Japan, 1976
“Country Home” live at Farm Aid, 1994
“Country Home” live at Farm Aid, 2012
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