Greil Marcus on Van Morrison's 'War with the Audience'
Booksmith - Booksmith
"Van Morrison," says Greil Marcus, "remains a singer who can be compared to no other in the history of modern popular music." The wild turbulence of his music, mirroring the swings in his popular acclaim, makes him one of the most perplexing and mysterious figures in modern music. He willfully resists simple categorization -- he is as much a bluesman as a Celtic soul singer, a rock and roller as a folk singer, a diva as a balladeer; his greatest songs are at one moment his own, at another covers of those by others.When That Rough God Goes Riding reveals Greil Marcus, America's most insightful cultural critic, at his best as he pursues Morrison's particular and peculiar genius through the extraordinary and unclassifiable moments in Morrison's career, beginning in 1965 and continuing in full force to this day. Marcus has listened to "Astral Weeks" more than any other album by any artist, yet he is prepared to dismiss seventeen years of Morrison's work as utterly forgettable. In this way Marcus pursues the high points and dislocations in which Morrison reaches a unique and extreme musical threshold, and illuminates one of our most enigmatic and revelatory performers.