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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Thanks for telling us about the problem. He lives in Oakland, California. Rock n roll has played a profound role in the process of the inheritance, acceptance, remodeling, and construction of future expectations within American culture, expressing the inherent contradictions of the promises we inherit and the failures we experience that we hold up against ever present ideals.

Aug 09, Hilary rated it did not like it. From the calculated shock tactics of Lyndon Baines Johnson to the ornate phrases of William FaulknerMarcus 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.

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

The artists he covers in this book are beloved to him: The essays collected here cover a mere half-dozen bands and artists in depth: See, I am a fierce mysterj lover and great musical explorer—I seek out new artists, read up on old artists, swap records with aficionados, even go crate-digging at thrift stores, picking up records based on their covers alone. Marcus wants it both ways: It freaks me out, finding a Jack who’s better at being Jack than Jack.

But there it is. The trai section which marcuss about the same length as all of the preceding essays does a better job of tracing the lineage of American music, though entire pages are simply a list of every version of “Stagger Lee” that Marcus could find.

MYSTERY TRAIN by Greil Marcus | Kirkus Reviews

But Marcus makes him come alive. It focuses on the origins of rock music in the blues and then profiles four completely different artists: I’ll underline a totally nugatory line right next to a brilliant observation. Mystery Train opens with an episode on the Dick Cavett showwhere Marrcus Richard interrupts a disagreement between a writer and a critic, and closes with a transcript of Jerry Lee Lewis arguing with producer Sam Phillips as they are setting up to record ” Great Balls of Ymstery ” in Dec 04, Erik rated it it was ok.


This isn’t about rock ‘n’ roll as much as it as about how Greil Marcus sees rock ‘n’ roll.

Dec 15, David Guy rated it really liked it. He draws connections—that’s what he’s best at—unlikely connections between American rock music and literature, politics, and mysteru arts for don’t you think politics is an art? According to another reviewer, Marcus proceeds in his examination of American popular culture with the “democratic assumption” that Presley and Herman Melville are already cultural and political equals, and are, therefore, “in conversation with one another – having a dialogue about freedom and limits, innovation and tradition, American dreams and American obsessions.

In contrast to the looming presence of race, however, another great dichotomy is simply invisible—in Marcus’ rock’n’roll, women do not exist except as audiences and backup singers. Unfortunately, I wanted to like this book much more than I actually did.

Music criticism Social history. 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. Preview — Mystery Train by Greil Marcus.

It got a little jarring at points see parenthesis above but- here’s the kicker- Marcus writes so damn well about obscure novels and bootlegs and concerts that even if one did actually hear them or attend them Marcus’ phrases are so distinct and so tastefully sketched that they envelop the music in a poetic aura of interpretation which becomes a thing of its own. Oct 08, Phil Davis rated it it was amazing.

All in all, a good book for election season The original edition, with a definitely shorter section of notes and discography, must have been a let down to many people when they finished reading it. A reminder that not everything in this country has to supremely suck The bibliography section 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.


Jan 11, Todd Fife rated it did not like it. Jul 30, Michael Finocchiaro rated it it was amazing Shelves: 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.

Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. Sep 01, Tanya rated it it was amazing. Of course, Marcus must be right. Elvis, with his adoration for his mother and for the gospel songs she loved, was more our speed. The man is now 70 years old and the obsession seems as strong as ever.

Nearly as much discographic information as storytelling and commentary, Mystery Train is a book by and for obsessive music listeners and record collectors. It becomes easier to think that nothing is new under the sun, or that if there is, that one can no longer be a part of what is new. One of the best books on Elvis. I’d personally take “Life” over anything the Band did post Quotes from Mystery Train: One of the great musical moments of my life. Pages to import images to Wikidata.

No harm in trying I suppose. If you are passionate about Sly Stone, the Band, Randy Newman, or Elvis, then this book has an essay that will intrigue you, but it’s best to know something about these artists–the essays aren’t really for the uninitiated.