Neil Young re-released classics will delight fans old and new

Neil Young at 2019 Farm Aid
Neil Young at 2019 Farm Aid / Gary Miller/GettyImages

Classic rock veteran Neil Young has endured many styles, bands, formats, and difficult periods in his lengthy career. He's about to re-release some classic material and much more from when he returned to top form. 

On July 14, fans will get a nine LP release on vinyl or a 6 CD set, made up of 4 newly remastered albums led by his widely appreciated 1989 Freedom album plus Ragged Glory (1990), Weld, and Arc albums (both 1991). They have all been remastered and are joined in the package by a range of previously unreleased material. 

This period in Young’s career follows some fairly tough years of musical experiments and unappreciated albums with Geffen Records. For Freedom, his 17th studio album, he was back with his previous label Reprise and a return to form musically with what has become one of his classic albums. 

Rolling Stone gave Freedom a 5-star review when it was released. The album brought greater public awareness back to Young. It was also helped by the single "Rockin' In The Free World," which hit the No. 2 slot in the U.S. charts. The album and this remastered package feature Young’s heavy distortion and feedback style leading to his "Godfather of Grunge" nickname.

Ragged Glory, released a year later, has Young recording again with Crazy Horse before going on tour in a not untypically controversial manner.  He chose a couple of perhaps unusual support bands in punk band Social Distortion and noise rockers Sonic Youth for the tour, upsetting some of the traditional fans he had just won back on his side with Freedom

Interestingly, Sonic Youth opened the tour shows and was a late stand-in for Nirvana. Kurt Cobain’s band was removed from the tour. Their label decided they were headliners, not openers. What a tour that might have been! 

The tour went on and was recorded for a two-disc live album Weld. Some versions of that live album also included Arc, a 35-minute-long release that largely featured distortion and feedback along with guitar solos and some vocals. 

This will be No. 5 in a series of packages of re-released material from the Neil Young Archives. It should give a terrific insight into the man and his music, grunge and distortion styles in a mix of great albums, tracks, and live and unreleased material. It’s available to preorder ahead of July 14.

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