Neil Young & Crazy Horse – FU##IN UP

A new Horse is let off its leash

Trending Now

A missing verse for “Cortez The Killer”, an unexpected cameo from Nils Lofgren on “Dangerbird”… for seasoned Neil Young watchers, his first full tour with Crazy Horse for 10 years has already created a pair of unforgettable talking points so early into their run. Beyond these two headline spots, there’s plenty of evidence from the footage on YouTube that Young and this latest version of the Horse are on an epic streak. There’s a grandly expanded “Down By The River”, a relentless, forceful “Love And Only Love”, some heavy shredding on “Hey Hey, My My (Into The Black)” and, of course, much more.


To some extent, it feels like Young has been building up to this tour for a while now. He’s been on a fairly steady Horse trip since he reactivated his dormant backing band in 2018, with Lofgren replacing stalwart guitarist Frank ‘Poncho’ Sampedro. Since then, the Horse have galloped through Young’s schedules: a trio of new studio albums recorded with Lofgren – Colorado, Barn and World Record – have vied with archival, Poncho-era releases, including ‘lost’ album Toast and Dume, a radical expansion of Zuma. If anything, this blurring of musical timelines – to be expected, perhaps, from the man who wrote “After The Goldrush” and “Pocahontas” – have reminded us of the indomitable spirit of the Horse and the gravitational pull they evidently exert on Young. All of a sudden, Archives II feels less about the path Young took through his troubled early to mid-‘70s and more about preparing the ground for the rebirth of the post-Danny Whitten Horse on Zuma.


Released first for Record Store Day but now given a wider run, FU##IN UP is something slightly different: both old and new, it finds a five-piece Horse, with Micah Nelson on guitar, performing Ragged Glory in full during a private concert in Toronto last November. Clues of what we could expect from the Horse’s current tour are in abundance here, not least the energy and electricity fizzing between the band.

As it transpires, Nelson – who’s been playing with Young, on and off, since 2015 and has known him for a lot longer through his father, Willie Nelson – is an excellent fit for the Horse, capable of playing with either the adventurousness of Danny Whitten and the burlier sound of Poncho. As a consequence, he makes an intuitive duelling partner for Young, wrestling with Old Black on the album’s longer cuts like “Broken Circle” and “Valley Of Hearts” (aka “Over And Over” and “Love To Burn”; all the song titles have been changed for no obvious reason).

Meanwhile, Lofgren’s honky-tonk piano lends a shimmying quality to these craggy, elemental songs while the doughty rhythm section of Billy Talbot and Ralph Molina bear stoical witness to Young’s electrifying playing. The churn is relentless, though, climaxing with a defiant and momentous “Love And Only Love” (rechristened “A Chance On Love”). 15 minutes in and you sense they could keep going: Young is even still shouting the chorus over a squall of feedback at the song’s close, not ready to quit just yet.


FU##IN UP tracklisting is:

City Life (Country Home)

Feels Like A Railroad (River Of Pride)

Heart Of Steel (Fuckin’ Up)

Broken Circle (Over And Over)

Valley Of Hearts (Love To Burn)

Farmer John

Walkin’ In My Place [Road Of Tears] (Mansion On The Hill)

To Follow One’s Own Dream (Days That Used To Be)

Chance On Love (Love And Only Love)


Latest Issue