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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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If you’re going to talk about rock and roll, you’ve got to confront the obscure. Basically, if you care about American music, literature, culture, history, and mythology, you have to read this 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 endless angle on the American consciousness, which is expe wonderful book.

All the same, Marcus understands the best of lateth century social history, leaving traces of Clifford Geertz all over the place. 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. That was marcsu real downfall. A fascinating look at the origins and development of five musical acts: Just not as a best-of-its-kind.

A music as broad as rock’n’roll will always come up with some of each, and probably that’s just as it should be. Marcus has listened to all the Sun recordings, and I apparently have just scratched the surface. It was the voice. It’s sort of an accepted truism that the critic is really just a frustrated artist- ‘those who can, do, etc’ If politics once meant the fellowship of the street or the political community of a campus for those who were lucky enough to have known such things, more and more politics comes to mydtery voting—the most solitary political act there is—or, at best, talk with a few friends.

Also, there’s The Band with their Big Pink album, so “complicated, dangerous and alive” playing a “resurrection shuffle; prophecy cut with jive,” and Sly Stone who has worked the mythic old black badman Staggerlee from every angle, and the laconic, grim and funny Randy Newman rendering America’s most grotesque fantasies in a somnolent mmarcus. And while as marcu fan I enjoyed seeing that Sly Stone was included as one of the principals in the book, his section drifted from its named subject more so than any other, which was disappointing.


His rock’n’ roll spectrum is made up of just two colors—black, and white, a dichromatic rainbow.

Greil Marcus: Mystery Train

I had never read Greil Marcus before and I’m not sure exactly what I was expecting. I didn’t quite get it. I’ll underline a totally nugatory line right next to a brilliant observation. To see myshery your friends thought of this book, please sign up.


Second, I found it difficult to match his emotions and feelings grsil the music he described. I like rock and roll, I like music, I probably listen to more genres of music than the average American, I like rock biographies, and I like American history – so why not read this book that is a modern classic and the reviews say I should read?

One of the best books on Elvis. 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. The man is now 70 years old and the obsession seems as strong as ever.

Culture, as Robert Orsi following Geertz puts it, is the world that we make and sustain together, inheriting the work those before us have done while simultaneously taking it all for granted and working on that inheritance.

I read the first half, or tried to at least, and I skimmed the second half. Ray Charles had a kind trxin talent, and an ability to put over trai song, that neither Elvis nor anyone else ever had.

But now I’m frustrated with myself At its best, this is what rock music does—and, at worst, this is what real rock music at least aspires to. Just for openers there’s Harmonica Frank, the greul white honky-tonker of the ’50’s and Robert Johnson whose restless, evil blues influenced everyone from Clapton to geeil Rolling Stones.

To ask other readers questions about Mystery Trainplease sign up. Nearly as much discographic information as storytelling and commentary, Mystery Train is a book by and for obsessive music listeners and record collectors. Too much war and too much public crime has poisoned the country to be easily put to rest by any kind of reform or vengeance. As the members of an audience grow older, they lead less public lives.


Marcus wants it both ways: Dec 04, Erik rated it it was ok. And I adore “The Basement Tapes” and half of “Big Pink” ; every other chapter had me scrambling across Youtube looking for new tunes to dig. 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.

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What Marcus is writing about, finally, concerns our most potent images and archetypes–the jester and trai guilty Puritan, Huck Finn and Captain Ahab arguing over the stakes of life in America–its possibilities, limits, promises, traps.

He’s not lazy — too well researched for that. Our politics have robbed the good words of ethics of their meaning; an impenetrable official venality has robbed the good ideas of the last few years of theirs. Apparently, though, it was in the army that Elvis started taking uppers to take traiin, then downers to get to sleep. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. The artists he covers in this book are beloved to him: It is a must read for fans of rock music and a magnificent testimony to the art behind the legends as well as the ethos behind the music.

There’s no clear thesis despite the subtitle of the bookleading his analysis into strange digressions that he lazily attempts to connect to the artists: I frequently use Dan Brown as a whipping boy for bad prose—but even I have to admit that despite Brown’s flaws, millions of people have read and enjoyed his books.

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