Saturday, March 29, 2014

Catching Up With Five Mean Years

Last week, I decided to fill a gap in my Greil Marcus collection by acquiring his book THE DOORS : A LIFETIME OF LISTENING TO FIVE MEAN YEARS, which I was able to pick up in hardcover from an Amazon Market seller for the princely sum of one penny, plus $3.99 postage. Though I was cautioned that the book was used, upon opening the package, I found the book not only in mintish condition but the dust jacket bore an "Autographed Copy" sticker. I couldn't believe it, but I looked inside and, sure enough, there was the great man's signature, looking for all the world like a length of pliered wire.

Last night, I finished it. Like a number of its readers, I was somewhat disappointed. The entire book, short as a lark, appears to have been prompted by Marcus' listening to the now-out-of-print 4-CD Rhino Handmade set BOOT YER BUTTS!, which I don't have and have never heard; it was widely condemned for its poor sound quality but he makes it sound spottily appetizing and in some instances astounding - so he put me on the scent for a copy. As always, Marcus is a stimulating thinker (when he makes the otherwise unacceptable comment that "Not To Touch The Earth" is "musically incoherent," I have to stop and evaluate precisely what he's saying) and I admire all that he ropes into the discussion, but though Marcus has always lead me on topics like Bob Dylan, I felt he had less to teach or offer me about these guys. And his project is further handicapped because he only seems to admire certain aspects of the Doors' recorded works whereas I find much to value in those middle albums he has no use for. If anything, I much prefer those to the drunk tank blues of L.A. WOMAN, which he likes more than I do. I was glad we were agreed on the Oliver Stone film, though, which he made me want to watch again.

Good deal for a penny, though. Try your luck.

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