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Listening to Van Morrison, By Greil Marcus

Has he told us lately that he loves him?

It has been said that "writing about music is like dancing about architecture".

Faced with the imposing edifice of Van Morrison's oeuvre, Greil Marcus has performed a very singular jig. The author is rightly lauded for books such as Lipstick Traces, in which he places pop within its proper cultural and historical contexts, but here he focuses on the music itself. The result is a strange, often poetic, very personal collection of essays, that pulls at the limits of language in attempting to describe Morrison's weird sonic manoeuvres. Now and then Marcus hits just the right phrase: notes in a guitar riff are rendered as "distracted metal shavings".