How much credence do you give to Morrison’s talent, though, as opposed to something magical that happens? There has to be a baseline of talent to even have the possibility for magic to happen.
Well, I think his talent, at its deepest, is for opening up a feel where magic can happen. That's his talent. People who don't have any special talent, who really do just go through the motions or who have developed a product that market-research surveys have shown people will buy over the long term—and a lot of bands and a lot of performers really do work that way—don't have that kind of talent. Most of us probably don't. But I think he does.
When That Rough God Goes Riding: Listening To Van Morrison by Greil Marcus is published by Public Affairs ™, a member of the Perseus Books Group, 2010.
Greil Marcus photo credit: Thierry Arditti, Paris