3 Must-Hear Tracks from Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s New Live Album ‘Fu##in’ Up’

Last year, Neil Young and Crazy Horse played a private birthday party for billionaire Dani Reiss at the Rivoli, a beloved Toronto venue where Drake (Aubrey Graham) once attempted improv.

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The resulting live album, Fu##in’ Up, documents Neil & The Horse performing their 1990 album Ragged Glory. Considered one of Young’s best with Crazy Horse, Ragged Glory introduced the “Godfather of Grunge” to a new generation of noise-rock aficionados.

Apart from “Farmer John,” track titles on Fu##in’ Up are renamed using corresponding lyrics. Also, the band didn’t perform the studio version’s closer, “Mother Earth (Natural Anthem).”

Here are three must-hear tracks from Neil Young and Crazy Horse’s new live album.

“Heart of Steel (F—in’ Up)”

The album’s title track comes from track three on Ragged Glory. It’s the sound of Crazy Horses’ avant-grunge cranked to ear-bleeding decibels. Over walls of feedback, Neil Young showcases the inverse of his melodic side. Ragged Glory was released 34 years ago, though Young and his band have always sounded like they’re from an old world. You can imagine how loud it must have been inside the Rivoli’s 200-capacity room.

Mindless drifter on the road
Carry such an easy load
It’s how you look and how you feel
You must have a heart of steel

“Farmer John”

Young’s take on this garage rock standard is less peppy than The Premiere’s 1964 version. Drummer Ralph Molina and bassist Billy Talbot keep the band swinging as Micah Nelson (Willie’s son) bangs out saloon piano underneath Nils Lofgren and Young’s fuzzy guitars. Crazy Horse represents a half-century of garage, psychedelia, country, folk, and grunge rock. Young’s electric recordings have always maintained the free spirit of teenagers jamming in a garage. Unconcerned with trends or hits, this is a band playing for themselves.

Farmer John
I’m in love with your daughter
Yeah, the one
With the Champagne eyes

“To Follow One’s Own Dream (Days that Used to Be)”

Underneath the loud guitars is a heaping dose of nostalgia as Young sings, There’s very few of us left, my friend, from the days that used to be. Most members of Crazy Horse are at or near 80 (Lofgren is 72). Hearing Young sing this lyric while fronting a band he’s played with since 1969 is affecting. There’s a moment when the band lowers its volume while Young blows on a harmonica. It’s a parting sea, making space for the tender side of Young while intensifying the track’s wistful mood. Like much of the band’s work, there’s beauty beneath the noise.

Talk to me, my long lost friend, tell me how you are
Are you happy with your circumstance? Are you driving a new car?
Does it get you where you want to go, with a seven-year warranty
Or just another hundred thousand miles away
From the days that used to be

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