When That Rough God Goes Riding: Listening to Van Morrison

When That Rough God Goes Riding: Listening to Van Morrison - Greil Marcus I found this to be a rather uneven, at times impenetrable, book, but with enough going for it to salvage it from being two stars.I stopped reading music newspapers like NME a couple of decades ago as I couldn't understand what the hell the journalists were talking about, even when they were writing about music I knew very well. It all seemed like they were trying to prove how clever they were and, maybe showing that I'm not so clever, I just didn't get it. This is the tone that carries across in this book - Marcus has clearly thought a lot about Morrison's music, and he really wants you to know that he has.So, while there's too much "clever-cloggery", there isn't enough of the stuff that partially redeems the book: background to the writing and recording of the songs featured; Morrison's own thoughts about the songs (though, granted, he doesn't talk much about his work); and just why Morrison's music, and these songs in particular, are so important to Marcus.Maybe that stuff is in there and I just wasn't paying enough attention, but I had to force myself to finish the book and, while I'm glad I did, it's not an experience I'd care to repeat, at least not all in one go. I might re-read a chapter about a particular song as I'm listening to it - but then again, I might not.I bought this book thinking it might give me some insight into what I find so appealing about Van Morrison's wonderful music. In the end, I guess I've decided that Marcus's opinions about Morrison just don't matter to me all that much, and I'm glad: I'm happy to leave my fascination with Van Morrison's music somewhat unexamined. As Billy Bragg said:The temptationTo take the precious things we have apartTo see how they workMust be resisted for they never fit together again.