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Proceeds from the project, released ahead of Friday’s Manson documentary on ABC, will benefit California environmental nonprofit Air Trees Water Animals.

Half a century ago, a few years before Charles Manson ordered his followers to kill a houseful of people in 1969, the young guitarist was serving time in prison for forging checks, writing folk songs by the dozen.

Once out, Manson chased his dream of securing a record contract. Neil Young tried unsuccessfully to get him signed to Reprise. “He was quite good,”…

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