Mystery Train

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Track Listing. Mar 06, Matt Comito rated it really liked it. There is something of the magic that Randall Jarrell brings to his poetry criticism here in Marcus's book. His approach in discussinng any given song is synthetic and creative, not just a description but an imaginative 'reading' that adds to your experience of that song. This is one of Marcus's gifts. He is able 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.

Sep 01, Tanya rated it it was amazing. Sometimes his detailed history and mythology is hard to plow through, but it is a fascinating read for those who are obsessed with music. Because you will go to itunes and buy each album featured and listen with a new appreciation. Dec 04, Erik rated it it was ok. I love non-fiction and I love biographies, especially those that center on musical icons.

Mystery Train

Unfortunately, I wanted to like this book much more than I actually did. Though I really liked the subject matter, I couldn't help but think that the author was just trying too hard to write "literature," rather than just telling the story. Bottom line: reading the book was more work than play.

Dec 30, Mike Bender rated it really liked it Shelves: owned. Skip the Harmonica Frank section and go directly to Robert Johnson. And don't skip the discography and notes - great stuff. Feb 24, Padraic rated it it was amazing Shelves: books-about-sound , read-and-loved. Academic,perhaps, although only for those terrified of footnotes. Dense, surely. Interesting, absolutely. And for that alone, brilliant. Oct 18, Karen-Leigh rated it really liked it Shelves: bio-memoir-letters.

Very well written. One of the best books on Elvis.

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Dec 15, David Guy rated it really liked it. Greil Marcus is a rough contemporary of mine, just three years older, and has had a long distinguished career.

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Mystery Train was his first book, and came out when he was just Nobody would argue, I assume, with that last entry, at least as an influence. I would have said I had a strong interest in popular music around the time Marcus was writing, in But compared to Marcus—a full-scale obsessive—and a number of the people he cites, I knew nothing and had listened to nothing. Marcus had listened to everything, and had strong vivid opinions about all of it.

He makes me feel as if I never even turned on a radio. Blues though the prevailing opinion is that Elvis sold out in his movies and should never have done any of them. I admit the man was a lousy actor and seemed to be reading the lines from cue cards, but there were a lot of beautiful women in those movies, and there were always a few good songs. Marcus seems to think Elvis resurrected himself at least briefly midway in his career, a moment that I seem to have missed. Apparently, though, it was in the army that Elvis started taking uppers to take awake, then downers to get to sleep.

That was his real downfall. I think of myself as a major Elvis fan. But Marcus has read even the novels about Elvis, of which there seems to be a substantial number. The person who would do that had to be white because of the demographics and prejudices of the country, and there was famously a music producer—Sam Phillips—who was on the lookout for this person. Probably Jerry Lee was a little too wild for America in the fifties.

Elvis, with his adoration for his mother and for the gospel songs she loved, was more our speed. In any case, this weird backwoods boy hit the jackpot. But there it is. I deserve a spot only in the caboose of the Mystery Train because I took a side track early in adolescence and never returned to the main line. I listened to Elvis and the Beatles and the Stones and everybody else through my high school years, and followed the general currents of music on into college, and the six years when I taught secondary school.

He is the artist who truly brought together gospel and race records, and rock n roll, and popular ballads, and standards, and country western. His version of every song—however wild and strange—became the defining one for me. Even Colonel Tom Parker would have had trouble creating an image out of that.

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It was the voice. Ray Charles had a kind of talent, and an ability to put over a song, that neither Elvis nor anyone else ever had. Ray traveled and recorded with a big band, which got me into Basie and Ellington. His recordings of small ensemble jazz got me into saxaphonists like David Fathead Newman and other small groups. His two albums of Country Western music opened up all of that, especially the original recordings of Hank Williams. He has his obsessions and I have mine. You can examine the panorama of American music through any number of lenses. One of the interesting things about Mystery Train is that Marcus has continued to expand the Notes and Discography in subsequent editions, so that the book has become much larger and more complete.

The man is now 70 years old and the obsession seems as strong as ever. The notes are often as good as the text. Mystery Train is packed with facts and details that only an obsessed person can have.

One of the great musical moments of my life. But that scream toward the end of Sail Away is a candidate too.

Take a listen. We all know what talking about music is like and for those who don't, great googly moogly, don't get me started.

Mystery Train () - IMDb

Greil Marcus does a lot of dancing about architecture in this book, first published in and updated for this fifth edition in Thank goodness or thanks to rock and roll, which is not quite the same thing it's an interesting dance. From the calculated shock tactics of Lyndon Baines Johnson to the ornate phrases of William Faulkner , Marcus moves effortlessly from "high" cul We all know what talking about music is like and for those who don't, great googly moogly, don't get me started.

From the calculated shock tactics of Lyndon Baines Johnson to the ornate phrases of William Faulkner , Marcus moves effortlessly from "high" culture to "low" scare quotes intentional and back again.