Tommy's Reviews > When That Rough God Goes Riding: Listening to Van Morrison

When That Rough God Goes Riding by Greil Marcus
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's review
Sep 25, 10

bookshelves: criticism, music, nonfiction
Read from September 21 to 23, 2010

Greil Marcus has a tendency to use someone else's music as a basis for his own verbal riffing, but what else are you going to do with an artist like Van Morrison? Sometimes Marcus makes nonsensical connections (why bring up John Carlos and Tommie Smith's political protest at the 1968 Olympics when you're discussing Astral Weeks? They happened in the same year, but still...), but he also has access to all kinds of obscure bootlegs, and his lengthier chapters (on "Madame George" and "Saint Dominic's Preview," for example) contain the best history and analysis. For the Morrison fan, this is a fun, quick read. For anyone else, I might recommend Marcus' earlier Mystery Train as a starter into the work of a rare breed: an erudite rock critic.

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