When That Rough God Goes Riding

When That Rough God Goes Riding : Listening to Van Morrison

3.24 (257 ratings by Goodreads)
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Van Morrison, says Greil Marcus, remains a singer who can be compared to no other in the history of modern popular music. When Astral Weeks was released in 1968, it was largely ignored. When it was rereleased as a live album in 2009 it reached the top of the Billboard charts, a first for any Van Morrison recording. The wild swings in the music, mirroring the swings in Morrisons success and in peoples appreciation (or lack of it) of his music, make Van Morrison one of the most perplexing and mysterious figures in popular modern music, and a perfect subject for the wise and insightful scrutiny of Greil Marcus, one of Americas most dedicated cultural critics. This book is Marcuss quest to understand Van Morrisons particular genius through the extraordinary and unclassifiable moments in his long career, beginning in 1965 and continuing in full force to this day. In these dislocations Marcus finds the singer on his own artistic quest precisely to reach some extreme musical threshold, the moments that are not enclosed by the will or the intention of the performer but which somehow emerge at the limits of the musician and his song.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 208 pages
  • 144.78 x 213.36 x 22.86mm | 317.51g
  • PublicAffairs,U.S.
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 158648821X
  • 9781586488215
  • 314,480

Review quote

Booklist "No critical testimonial is more welcome than this assessment of Morrison's work by one of America's most astute cultural critics.... Marcus is informed and insightful. Particularly illuminating are his observations on the tensions between Morrison's roles as singer and songwriter, and on Morrison's ongoing 'quest for the yarragh'--fleeting, elusive moments of transcendence. Morrison's volatile idiosyncrasy and diverse oeuvre make his career difficult to appraise, but Marcus convinces us of its singular importance." Time Out New York"Marcus's approach yields fresh insight into one of pop's most complex personas." San Francisco Chronicle"Beautifully written." Portland Oregonian "[Marcus is] literate, brainy and fearless in making cross-genre comparisons." Portland Mercury "One of the most interesting rock scribes of the past quarter-century." Washington City Paper "Written in prose as free-associative as the music it concerns, When That Rough God Goes Riding derives energy from the fact that Marcus was present at many of the landmark moments he's exegizing."show more

About Greil Marcus

Greil Marcus is the author of The Shape of Things to Come, Like a Rolling Stone, and The Old Weird America; a 20th anniversary edition of his book Lipstick Traces was published in 2009. With Werner Sollors he is the editor of A New Literary History of America, published last year by Harvard University Press. Since 2000 he has taught at Princeton, Berkeley, Minnesota, and the New School in New York; his column "Real Life Rock Top 10" appears regularly in The Believer. He lives in Berkeley.show more

Rating details

257 ratings
3.24 out of 5 stars
5 12% (30)
4 27% (69)
3 40% (102)
2 18% (45)
1 4% (11)
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