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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Elvis, with his adoration for his mother and for the gospel songs she loved, was more our speed. 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.

What a strange book. 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.

You’ll have to forgive him for that; despite some pretentious twaddle, Mystery Train is an intriguing and ultimately convincing book–perhaps because Marcus has chosen his subjects with great care. He draws connections—that’s what he’s best at—unlikely connections between American rock music and literature, politics, and other arts for don’t you think politics is an art?

That Americans are as capable of transcendent beauty as they are of electing a cartoon character rapist to the highest office in the land.

That was his real downfall. No trivia or quizzes yet. And that’s not something I’ll say all that often. Recommended to Alan by: Aug 09, Hilary rated it did not like it. 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.

The greatest plus here, though, are the Notes and Discographies that form the second half or more of “Mystery Train. 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. All in all, a good book for election season Marcus writes with some serious verve though, and his enthusiasm is infectious.


Curious how Marcus nitpicks in the section: 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 Hound dogs, Boomers and other makers of noise.

All the same, Marcus understands the best of lateth century social history, leaving traces of Clifford Geertz all over the place.

‘Mystery Train’ by Greil Marcus | All-TIME Nonfiction Books |

At its best, this is what rock music does—and, at worst, this is what real rock music at least aspires to. Ray Charles had a kind of talent, and an ability to put over a song, that neither Elvis nor anyone else ever had. Feb 24, Padraic rated it it was amazing Shelves: Pretty much the big bang myztery those who like to plug their music collection into their book collection and msytery the two comingle, cohabit, collude and co-depend.

We all know what talking about music is like and for those who don’t, great googly moogly, don’t get me started. For other uses, see Mystery Train disambiguation. Had a new copy of this and decided to reread it.


I think of myself as a major Elvis fan. Mystery Trainaccording to one reviewer, reflects on what could be called “the historical turn” that rock took at the close of the 60sinitiated by Bob Dylan and the Bandand followed through by everyone from Creedence Clearwater Revival to Randy Newmanthe music moving “beyond rock’n’roll’s teenage immersion in the present to an adult sophistication steeped in deep knowledge of rock’s roots in blues and country and lyrics that likewise looked to the past for inspiration.

I realized fairly quickly that without having in depth knowledge about all the performers and their songs you will get very little out of this book. Thank goodness or thanks to rock and roll, which is not quite the same thing it’s an interesting dance.

Mystery Train is packed with facts and details that only an obsessed person can have. After the essays, frozen as they are in time it was deeply weird for me to read the unbroken present tense of “Presliad”come pages—literally more than half the book —given over to Marcus’ “Notes and Discographies.


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. Dec 07, Johanna rated it really liked it. I only recommend “Notes and Discographies” if you are very interested in whatever band Marcus is discussing 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 mean voting—the most solitary political act there is—or, at best, talk with a few friends.

But in these short chapters Marcus delves fearlessly into grand subjects. He makes the music or, if one wants to be uncharitable his impression of the music vivid, incisive, tough-minded, and profound. Pages to import images to Wikidata. Views Read Edit View history. His analysis of the end of the s still resonates: He knows why widely popular works—even if they’re terrible by critical standards—force us to engage with them, precisely because they’re popular.

Nov 29, Marxist Monkey rated it really liked it.

Juxtaposition is not eclipse. Jul 30, Michael Finocchiaro rated it it was amazing Shelves: 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 love non-fiction and I love biographies, especially those that center on musical icons.

But compared to Marcus—a full-scale obsessive—and a number of the people he cites, I knew nothing and had listened to nothing. 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 didn’t quite get it. Trivia About Mystery Train: