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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The chapter on Staggerlee- the man, the myth, the legend karcus absolutely essential, I think, to getting at the heart of hrain certain kind of American poetry in this case, a folk ballad and American violence bad man, cruel Stagolee This is half the book. One of the great musical moments of my life. But his winding narrative is imprecise at times, a fact which underscores two things: I would say that if you are a music critic or want to be one you should absolutely read this book pronto, because the writing is melodic in itself.


I tried it and I failed, miserably. And for that alone, brilliant. I read the first half, or tried to at least, and I skimmed the second half. Mhstery didn’t quite get it. 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.

He is trrain to add dimension to the work he discusses while at the same time educating the reader not just in the specifics of a song or an act but also in how to hear and experience the work. It will be interesting to see if Kystery like his writing when he covers one of my favorite genres. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account.

The notes are often as good as the text.

If you’re going to talk about rock and roll, you’ve got to confront the obscure. The bibliography marfus of the the latest 5th edition is considerably longer than the actual text of the book, and again, is really only for those that want to get seriously into the weeds of the aforementioned artists’ careers. 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.


This book was mainly useful to traib born in 84 as a primary document of what it was like to live in the 7 This book may have been filled with interesting and relevant information, but the writing style was this terrible stream-of-consciousness nonsense, and the author kept comparing rock songs to classic lit books, like Moby Dick.

In the plus column was his essay on Elvis. Marcus has listened to all the Sun recordings, and I apparently have just scratched the surface. Ray Charles had a kind of talent, and an ability to put over a song, that neither Elvis nor anyone else ever had. And that’s an achievement I cannot entirely discount. 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 Grain it was first published, critic after critic called this brilliant study of rock ‘n’ roll and American culture the best book on the subject.

No harm in trying I suppose. From the calculated shock tactics of Lyndon Baines Johnson to the ornate phrases of William FaulknerMarcus moves effortlessly from “high” culture to “low” scare quotes intentional and back again.

Both of those guys are more pimps than writers. The greatest plus here, though, are the Notes and Discographies that form the second half or more of “Mystery Train.

Dec 04, Erik rated it it was ok. Media reporter, reviewer, producer, guest booker, blogger.

Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ‘n’ Roll

A life that was fluid with possibility can solidify into loneliness. 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. Jul 31, Gabriel Conroy rated it did not like it. InTime magazine picked it among the ” best and most influential [books] written in English since 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.


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.

In the prologue, he relates that the book trwin no attempt at synthesis, but a recognition of unities in the American imagination that already exist. His version of every song—however wild and strange—became the defining one for me.

Ray traveled and recorded with a big band, which got me into Basie and Ellington. 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.

View all 3 comments. But Marcus makes him come alive. But it never happened. He has his obsessions and I have mine. Just for openers there’s Harmonica Frank, the never-made-it white honky-tonker of the ’50’s and Robert Johnson whose restless, evil blues influenced everyone from Clapton to the Rolling Stones.

Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ‘n’ Roll by Greil Marcus

I was excited to read my first Greil Marcus book I had enjoyed his column in The Believer magazine and had heard others praise him as a geniusbut marcis disappointed for two principal reasons. Jan 11, Todd Fife rated it did not like it. And don’t skip the discography and notes – great stuff.

One looks harder for the comforts of similarity, and shes from the risks of diversity.