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Listening to Van Morrison
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Listening to Van Morrison [Format Kindle]

Greil Marcus

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Descriptions du produit

Présentation de l'éditeur

'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 re-released 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 Morrison's success and in people's 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 America's most dedicated cultural critics.

This book is Marcus's quest to understand Van Morrison's 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.

Biographie de l'auteur

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.Daphne Carr is a music journalist and scholar who lives in Manhattan.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 402 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 208 pages
  • Editeur : Faber & Faber (17 juin 2010)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B003U9V9GC
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 3.0 étoiles sur 5  26 commentaires
40 internautes sur 43 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Deep Listening 1 avril 2010
Par Jerome Langguth - Publié sur
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
This is a strange, but ultimately very rewarding, extended meditation on listening to Van Morrison. My take on the book is that Marcus is not at all interested in writing a standard critical overview of Morrison's career, and it is mercifully not the "New Biography" treatment Van so rightly fears and detests. This book ignores chronology and completely upends the standard critical take on the Van Morrison discography (Marcus dismisses as completely worthless a full fifteen of the albums he considers). Instead, it is a book about a rarely glimpsed, alternate, and far more complex and forbidding, Van Morrison that may well be a creature of Marcus's own imagining. This Van Morrison is on a quest for moments of musical transcendence of a very specific sort; a kind of transcendence that is least likely to occur when Morrison is actually singing about transcendence in a more obvious way (hence the worthlessness of most of the 80s and 90s albums). For Marcus, the albums Astral Weeks, St. Dominic's Preview, The Healing Game, Into the Music, and Veedon Fleece, along with some scattered gems from Morrison's band Them, are most successful at delivering what the Van Morrison he hears (or would like to hear) can accomplish at his best. Though the judgments Marcus makes often seem highly idiosyncratic, it is nevertheless abundantly clear that he is writing from a lifetime of deep engagement with Morrison's music. That is what, on my view, makes this book well worth reading. The overall result of reading the book for me was to return to the music. And I have to admit that Marcus is definitely on to something in his refusal to follow the usual critical narrative on Morrison. The albums and songs highlighted here do seem to have a depth and resonance alongside which Morrison's more pedestrian output seems to pale in comparison.
27 internautes sur 32 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Listen again 18 avril 2010
Par o dubhthaigh - Publié sur
Cranky is as cranky does, and that, more than anything, is as close as you'll ever get to assessing the directions of Van Morrison. On a good day, Van grouses in his music about something, on a bad day about everything. And that's OK, because amid all the malcontented ramblings, there's an artist who can sweep you away and fill you with a sense of, well, you know.
Marcus writes impressionistically about his love for and frustration with Morrison. And as some other reviews have noted, he'd have been well served with an editor who knew the music as well. So it goes. I would agree that there are very definite lines of sheer genious and rapturous inspiration and that the seeds of that are in Madame George. I would also agree that Van hits some dry patches where his Muse has turned off the lights, notably Common One, Period of Transition, and everything post One Night in San Francisco. But I would suggest that when Van wrapped a period of his career up with that SF concert, he did so because he had brought the journey from Belfast to SF to its artistic conclusion. Essaying the roots, soul and Irish influences of his career, the concert marked the end of a very significant trajectory. Embracing the Chieftains, John Lee Hooker and Georgie Fame, he finished what he began with Madame George.
While everything since seems like a rumble 'round the attic of his memories and influences, in a sort of artistic retirement, pottering about in the shed, he can rightly turn on any of us and ask
"Didn't I bring you a sense of wonder?"
Yes, you did, Van. Rave on.
13 internautes sur 16 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
1.0 étoiles sur 5 Return to Sender . Buy the Peter Mills book instead. 31 décembre 2010
Par NewHouse - Publié sur
What an insult to Van Morrison. Sparing, ooh, several hours one afternoon to dash off this first-thought dross, Greil Marcus dismisses decades of interesting work in a line or two. Incredible arrogance and, frankly, stupidity. I got this the same time as the Peter Mills book, Hymns To The Silence: Inside The Words and Music of Van Morrison which is 100 times the book that this is, full of insight and detailed analysis. In comparison, Marcus's book is too much of nothing. Ignore.
19 internautes sur 26 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 Why write about someone you know so little about? 7 mai 2010
Par Jeffrey - Publié sur
The rock critic and author Griel Marcus was interviewed on the Public Radio program "soundcheck" on May 5, two days ago. I just listened to the downloaded show. Based the on that intervew I warn anyone with an interest in Van Morrison to read ANYTHING BUT this book. The author's knowedge is weak on his subject. Maybe that's why he decided to write a book not about Van or his music, but about "his listening to Van Morrison." When he was asked why Van's performances were so uneven. (He is famously uneven in performance) Marcus answered "I can't really say." Well, let's start with the fact that Van sufferred for years and years from serious STAGEFRIGHT. Doesn't Marcus know this?

Marcus critized Van for not always wanting to play his most song popular songs in concert. There was a period this was true and it was certainly his right as an artist. But it's hard to make this stick if you listen to three of Van's very finest releases, which are live albums, each released ten years after the previous: Ut's Too Late To Stop Now (1974), Live from the Belfast Opera House (1984) and A Night in San Francisco (1994),

Morrison first wrote and recorded "Gloria" and "Here Comes the Night" as lead singer of THEM in 1965 (at 20). i His first solo album contained "Brown Eyed Girl." His third was "Moondance." In between he created an album that still connot be pigeonholed named "Astral Weeks." This recording sold fifteen THOUSAND copies the year of release. Twenty years later it had sold several million copies and was named of the fifth best rock and roll ablum ever recorded by Rolling Stone Magazine. Since that time Van has released 36 additional original recordings (leaving out "bestofs"). He has been incredibly prolific, a troubador never at rest and always searching intellectually and musically. By the way, Van has been dubbedhe the best while blues singer in the world again and again. But no real reference to this vocal instrument by Mr. Marcus. Oh, well.

I like John Shaeffer (host) and listen often to soundcheck. On this occasion he was simply out his depth...uniformed and unprepared, relying only on Marcus' opinions to frame his questions. And questions like "what has he done lately betray his lack of preparation.
10 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
2.0 étoiles sur 5 But enough about Van...let's talk about Greil 18 août 2010
Par Richard Thurston - Publié sur
There is a great book about Van Morrison out there somewhere. This isn't it.

This is a book about Greil Marcus and documents another facet of his endless fascination with himself and a few of the relics (Dave Marsh, Lester Bangs, Jon Landau) from the pages of Creem and Rolling Stone a golden age from which we continue to fall.

I enjoy Marcus. He can turn a phrase and his descriptive powers can be hugely entertaining if more than a little self-absorbed.

That said this is a slight, lazy book. Marcus' discussion of Morrison's studio output (along with a few dates when Marcus caught him live in the Bay Area back in the 1970's) form the main topic here. The recordings from 1980 - 1996 are dismissed in a couple of paragraphs. Most of the work is Marcus explaining what he Marcus 'feels', and little about what he, Morrison actually does. But then that is a common complaint I have about rock 'jounalism' as practiced by this crowd. Fans first. Musicians not at all.

An observation.

Van Morrison is unique among major 'rock stars' in that he is a consummate musician. He plays any number of instruments, is well versed in musics from Leadbelly to Ornette Coleman to Bob Wills and composes, arranges and possesses one of the great voices of any age. Period. That said focusing on studio recordings doesn't give the casual reader into what Morrison is really capable of.

For that one should actually see a show then turn to the live recordings and indeed, one should have a look at the vast number of bootlegs out there which capture Morrison in concert in various bands at various times from the early 1970's up until June 2010. There is a vast body of work out there which paints an entirely different picture from the miniature Marcus presents in his tiny little book.

Listening to Morrison at Montreux 1980 or Essen 1982 or the Roxy 1978 give a slice of a performer really without equal in his field. The quality of his groups, the mingling of songs from different periods, the construction of tension and release in a set are all captured in these live recordings and they present a figure entirely more interesting Marcus describes.

But of course Van Morrison isn't really the subject of Marcus' book.
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