Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ‘n’ Roll Music: Sixth Edition [Greil Marcus] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The perfect gift for. Mystery Train has ratings and reviews. Michael said: This is a masterpiece from Greil Marcus about what makes American rock-n-roll such a speci. Praise. Praise for Mystery Train: “Mystery Train changed a lot of things for me. Most basically, it plugged me into a lifetime’s worth of listening. Because of it, I.
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There’s no clear thesis despite the subtitle of the bookleading mxrcus analysis into strange digressions that he lazily attempts to connect to the artists: The section on The Band nearly dispenses with any analysis after a few pages and instead traces how disappointed Marcus became with them after their 2nd album. The prose is tepid, refusing to delve into a deep critical analysis of the artists while neglecting any autobiographical elements that could shed light on the author’s opinions.
Marcus wants it both ways: His only support for the importance of these artists is their popularity though Elvis was the only one to achieve a long-lasting version of it and his own opinion of them; Billboard chart positions and record sales can support the former, but we aren’t left with much to support the latter.
The grsil section which is about the same length as all of the preceding essays does a better job of tracing the lineage of American music, though entire pages are simply a list of every version of “Stagger Lee” that Marcus could find. If you are interested in the musicians listed on the cover Elvis, Sly Stone, The Band, Randy Newmanconsider a separate biography about them.
This isn’t about rock mysgery roll as much as it as about how Greil Marcus grel rock ‘n’ roll. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Want to Read saving…. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Mystery Train by Greil Marcus. When it was first published, critic after critic called this brilliant study of rock ‘n’ roll and American culture the best book on the subject.
Now, firmly established as ttrain classic, the fourth edition features a completely new introduction as well as an entirely updated discography that includes CDs for the first time.
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Jul 30, Michael Finocchiaro rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is a masterpiece from Greil Marcus about what makes American rock-n-roll such a special beast. It focuses on the origins of rock music in the blues and then profiles four completely different artists: It also includes a kickass discography to go back and listen to the jarcus he discusses. I was blown away by the original Sun sessions of Elvis and grew an entirely new appreciation of Bob Dylan’s work with The Band, Sly Stone’s music This is a masterpiece from Greil Marcus about what makes American rock-n-roll such a special beast.
I was blown away by the original Sun sessions of Elvis and grew an entirely new appreciation of Bob Dylan’s work with The Band, Sly Stone’s music as well as that of Mr. It marxus a must read for fans of rock music and a magnificent maecus to the art behind the legends as well as the ethos behind the music. Sep 09, Paul Bryant rated it really liked it Shelves: Pretty much the big myztery for those who like to plug their music collection into their book collection and let the two comingle, cohabit, collude and co-depend.
Yes, I agree, Greil Marcus is a waffling, grating self-parody of a ta Pretty much the big bang for those who like to plug their music collection into their book collection and let the two comingle, cohabit, collude and co-depend.
Yes, I agree, Greil Marcus is a waffling, grating self-parody of a tall-foreheaded fierce rock crit whose favourite obsessions are painfully predictable Robert Johnson, Randy Newman, Elvis for starters. His later books you would have to pay me in unmarked bills to read, but this one was very cool for its time and the time I read it, so hey Greil, you may be male and myystery so pale but this wasn’t a fail. Mysgery hope one day to follow in Marcus’ footsteps. He combines or better to say assimiliates varying traditions and social forces within American history and popular culture, beginning with an artist, a moment, a tone, a mood, an instance and expanding it marcuw into larger and more elegant circles of reference and obscure historical connection until we get a sort of folk gestalt, an x-ray if rgeil will, of another seemingly endless angle on the American consciousness, which is expe wonderful book.
He combines or better to say assimiliates varying traditions and social forces within American history and popular culture, beginning with an artist, a moment, a tone, a mood, an instance and expanding it outward into larger and more elegant circles of reference and obscure historical connection until we get a sort of folk gestalt, an x-ray if you will, of another seemingly grell angle on the American consciousness, which is experiemntal to the bone.
If you’re going to talk about rock and roll, you’ve got to confront the obscure. A whole chapter on Harmonica Frank? I’m pretty well-versed in rock n roll and I’ve never so much as heard of him. But Marcus makes him come alive. The traon on Staggerlee- the man, the myth, the legend is absolutely essential, I think, to getting at the heart of a certain kind of Macus poetry in this case, a folk ballad and American violence bad man, cruel Stagolee It has been fairly said of Greik that “everything reminds him of everything mystrry If this sounds sort of like what one of his blurbs says of him: I think you can take quite a bit from the nature of the blurbs on a book jacket, their number and tone and the who and the where, but that’s another issue altogether The drawback as such to a book like this is that it does contain an extensive almost larger than the main course itself!
This can be enthralling if you’re a fan or scholar of the artist in question- I was actually pretty riveted to his discussion of Robert Johnson. I do think it’s somewhat annoying to read discriptions of songs and records which you know you’ll never actually get around to hearing It got a little jarring at points see parenthesis above but- here’s the kicker- Marcus writes so damn well about obscure novels and bootlegs and concerts that even if one did actually hear them or attend them Marcus’ phrases are so distinct and so tastefully sketched that they envelop the music in a poetic aura of interpretation which becomes a thing of its own.
He makes the music or, if one wants to be uncharitable his impression of the music vivid, incisive, tough-minded, and profound.
I would love to see this kind of everything-but-the-kitchen-sink, artistic style of criticism more often. It’s sort of an accepted truism that the critic is grekl just a frustrated artist- ‘those who can, do, etc’ If you read the best it has to offer the reason for its very being is more mystsry present, its obvious, and makes such distinctions irrelevant marcu say the least.
Criticism is, or should be, about making the thing discussed more vivid, more alive, more complex and grril real. Juxtaposition is not eclipse.
‘Mystery Train’ by Greil Marcus | All-TIME Nonfiction Books |
View all 3 comments. Aug 29, Jon rated it really liked it. Geoff Rice correctly assesses Invisible Republic as where the Marcus voodoo choo-choo goes off the rails and re-reading this vividly recalled the many strange feelings one can get receive via the Holy Greil — from ‘this is obviously the best thinking ever about music’ to ‘if I read one more evocation of the paradoxical nature of the South, I’m gonna choke myself on a chitlin.
Marcuw have all these passages highlighted in yellow but they’re all completely random and usually not very interesting, sometimes just factual.
I’ll underline a totally nugatory line right next to a brilliant observation. I guess at seventeen years old I didn’t know what the main idea in a paragraph was yet. On a more positive front, I was reminded of the way he makes criticism part of artistic process, especially in the chapter on the Band. His imagination helps make Big Pink a better record.
I was also reminded how much this guy demanded of the art he cared greiil. After reading this I used to listen to even the most average post-REM college rock records dozens of times because Greil told me that if you couldn’t play it five hundred times and keep finding something new it was either your fault or the record’s In the case of Guadalcanal Diary’s Walking In the Shadow of the Big Man it was probably the record. Anyway, now I never ask or expect anything from anyone grdil.
In other news, everyone loves the Elvis chapter but, except for the end where he explains his theory of American popular culture, it’s my least favorite. The Sly chapter, especially the section about conservatism in ’70s soul which I kinda forgot has plenty of balls for a white cat from Berkeley. Mar 26, Paul Secor rated it did not like it. Perhaps the most overrated writer on popular music – no, wait – that would be Dave Marsh. Both of those guys are more pimps than writers. Not all of these were met.
The front is the examination, done in a socio-politico-economic-philosophic style that tends to sink under the weight of its own self importance and lofty language at times. The original edition, with a definitely trqin section of notes and discography, must have been a mysery down to many people when they finished reading it. Tracing pop music to someone named Harmonica Frank seems like a reach, and raising Randy Newman to some high place as mirror on America reads like the work of a devoted fan rather than anything else.
And while as a fan I enjoyed seeing that Sly Mystrey was included as one trajn the principals in the book, his section drifted from its named subject more so than any other, which was disappointing.
Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ‘n’ Roll
In the plus column was his essay on Elvis. Long before many others cashed in on Elvis books after he died, Marcus carefully and respectfully illustrated Presley’s influence on Mytsery culture and music. It also gets into Sam Phillip’s influence on these things, which cannot be overlooked. Furtheri, Appreciated the scholarship yes, scholarship on Robert Johnson. I remembered how blown away I was when I first heard Johnson after buying the double cassette “King of the Delta Blues Singers” from a discount bin when I was in high school.
I wore them out and no longer have cassettes, so this book put me on a path back to buying that collection or another simple collection of 29 songs. The greatest plus here, though, are the Notes and Discographies that form the second half or more of “Mystery Train.
Still, I think Marcus exhausted all of his Newman knowledge in the main, as the second section is an unreadable list of Newman’s records, writing credits and guest appearances. Ultimately, “Mystery Train” has its place in the pantheon of rock books marxus a first-of-its-kind, and as a decent history in places.
Just not as a best-of-its-kind. Sep 05, Matthew rated it it was ok. The latest edition is two books in one: Then again, if your opinion supported every baby boomer’s claim that modern music ceased to be relevant once they hit 30, you’d think every notion that came to you was important too.
There’s no clear thesis despite the subtitle of the b The latest edition is two books in one: Nov 15, Harriett Milnes rated it really liked it Shelves: InGreil Marcus wrote Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ‘n’ Roll Music.
This is half the book. The other half is Notes and Discographies, which was updated in Lots of great, interesting stuff. In what would have been his st year, Johnson’s song was sung by the President of the United States. As if he’d heard it all his life.