Music Journalism A-Z – Greil Marcus

File:Mystery Train single cover.jpgTrain I ride, sixteen coaches long

Train I ride, sixteen coaches long

Well that long black train got my baby and gone

Mystery Train , Written By Junior Parker, 1953

I have greatly admired Greil Marcus‘s writings for 45 plus years. He has stamped an indelible impression on my musical taste and interpretation. I thank him from the bottom of the music of our heart for all he has shared and communicated.

I first discovered Greil Marcus in the record review section of Rolling Stone in the folded newspaper days (1968). His reviews contained an innate sensibility of the artist’s musical intent. He immediately understood what the music was accomplishing and communicated that knowledge directly to the reader. He transitioned the audio experience to the printed word effortlessly which has never been easy to articulate.

I bought his first book, Rock and Roll Will Stand in the summer of 69. He initiated my rock music book collection. I found his writing frank, honest and compelling. He cultivated my interest in the live concert idiom. I have been to 400+ concerts since that time. You might say he was a strong early influence for me.

The Greil Marcus book I treasure the most is Mystery Train. The first edition was published in 1975.  I continue to marvel even after the fifth edition (2008) how well the author informs the reader with its focused range of subjects from Robert Johnson, Elvis Presley, The Band, Randy Newman, and Sly Stone.

I wrote about Greil Marcus in December of 2011 when he published The Doors: A Lifetime of Listening to Five Mean Years (2011) . Here is that earlier blog post.

The Doors

 

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