Guitarist based in NYC, first emerged with the Lounge Lizards (post-Arto Lindsay), but may be best known for his work with Tom Waits. Along with Michael Blair's percussion, Ribot's guitar-work was a key element to Waits' 80's recordings (on Rain Dogs, Frank's Wild Years, and the live Big Time). Under Waits' direction (play it like a midget's bar mitzvah is a famous, alleged, instruction) Ribot's skronk-y style fits in perfectly with Blair's drop all the pans and play them with spoons percussion, and Waits' howlin' voice and broken street lyrical genius.

Ribot went on to join Blair backing Elvis Costello on the album Spike. In addition he's played with T Bone Burnett, Sam Phillips, Foetus, Medeski Martin and Wood, John Zorn, and tons of others.

His solo work includes Rootless Cosmopolitans (with idiosyncratic covers of While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Wind Cries Mary), Requiem for What's His Name, Shoe String Symphonettes & Yo! I Killed Your God on Zorn's Tzadik label, and 2 recent albums with his band The Prosthetic Cubans, who do lovely (sometimes slightly fractured) Cuban music.

You can find info about Marc Ribot from

Ribot was born in Newark, NJ in 1954. In his youth he studied with the Haitian guitarist and composer Frantz Casseus.In the 70s he worked as a sideman for Wilson Pickett and later joined up with the Realtones and the Uptown Horns Band, a NYC pickup band that backed Stax/Volt stars as Carla Thomas, Rufus Thomas, and Solomon Burke. This early soul playing is evident throughout his work, albeit in a uniquely personal and idiosyncratic way.

Although Ribot's solo records are great, nothing I've heard on CD or vinyl comes close to capturing the energy and intensity of his live playing. Ribot is one of those guitarists you can recognize after a single note. Still, the records are completely worthwhile. Here's a list of his solo releases that I'm aware of:

  • Rootless Cosmopolitans
  • Requiem for What's His Name
  • Shoe String Symphonettes
  • Don't Blame Me
  • Subsonic 1 (with Fred Frith)
  • Book of Heads
  • Marc Ribot Plays Solo Guitar Works of Frantz Casseus
  • Shrek
  • Yo! I Killed Your God
  • Marc Ribot y los Cubanos Postizos
  • Muy Divertido! (Very Entertaining) (with Los Cubanos Postizos)
  • Ghosts
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