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When That Rough God Goes Riding: Listening to Van Morrison by Greil Marcu.. A hard story lies behind the fame and fortune of many a blues life, but the ups and downs of Van Morrison’s journey surprise. Bonus points for the original lens this book puts on the music.

Joel Gardner, LitSnap Editor

"[Marcus’] ability to couple shrewd music criticism, historical perspective and broader genre analysis makes his work an adventurous read…. Marcus doesn’t attempt to tidily summarize Morrison’s life and career, but he does provide plenty of thought-provoking insights into this enigmatic performer, and his slipstream of references results in a fascinating meditation on Morrison’s oeuvre. You wind up wanting to pull out and listen to your Morrison albums and hunt down the many bootleg recordings that Marcus references here, searching for that elusive yarragh.."

San Francisco Chronicle

"Writing about the songs of Van Morrison is rightly seen as something of a paradox. Perhaps that's because, for all his scholarly use of multiple musical styles and his reference to Yeats and Joyce, the Belfast Cowboy's work is more sensual than it is intellectual. Which makes the renowned rock critic Greil Marcus, who's written definitively on Elvis and Bob Dylan, the right man to plumb that work. Combining an incantatory prose style with careful reporting and inventive, sometimes infuriating judgements, Marcus manages to illuminate Morrison's cerebral soul music—even if, as the singer once claimed, 'the process is beyond words.."

New York Times

Author bio: Greil Marcus (born June 19, 1945) is an American author, music journalist and cultural critic. He is notable for producing scholarly and literary essays that place rock music in a much broader framework of culture and politics than is customary in pop music journalism. His 1975 book, Mystery Train, re-defined the parameters of rock music criticism. The book places rock and roll within the context of American cultural archetypes, from Moby-Dick to The Great Gatsby to Stagger Lee. He currently writes the "Elephant Dancing" column for Interview, "Real Life Rock Top Ten" for The Believer, and occasionally teaches graduate courses in American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He also teaches a lecture class at the New School University called "The Old Weird America: Music as Democratic Speech - from the Commonplace Song to Bob Dylan. More information can be found here:

Book Details: General Nonfiction; 195 pp. Easy and insightful: Kindle/Print editions

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