Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Marc Ribot

  • Rootless Cosmopolitans [Island, 1990] Choice Cuts
  • Marc Ribot y Los Cubanos Postizos (The Prosthetic Cubans) [Atlantic, 1998] A-
  • Muy Divertido [Atlantic, 2000] A-
  • Songs of Resistance 1942-2018 [Anti-, 2018] *

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Consumer Guide Reviews:

Rootless Cosmopolitans [Island, 1990]
"While My Guitar Gently Weeps" Choice Cuts

Marc Ribot y Los Cubanos Postizos (The Prosthetic Cubans) [Atlantic, 1998]
This witty, beautiful, slightly bent tribute to the old-time trés-playing bandleader Arsenio Rodriguez--inventor of the son montuno, the Cuban conjunto, and practically speaking the mambo--reduces all that action to a guitar-bass-drums-percussion jazz quartet, sometimes with organ and once with a few horns. Deconstructing as it adores, enjoying the rhythms and melodies of arrangements that function simultaneously as dance music, dinner music, and art music, it epitomizes what it is to love something from a distance there's no denying, yet love it well. A-

Muy Divertido [Atlantic, 2000]
Less enchanting than the first one, in part because it's not a surprise and in part because the tunes are a touch duller and the playing is a touch broader. But the idea of subjecting presalsa to the affectionate indignities of a small, bent jazz ensemble remains muy divertido. And once you internalize the material--by Ribot's beloved Arsenio Rodriguez and several other Cubans, with Ribot's own "Las Lomas de New Jersey" and "Baile Baile Baile" holding their own--you'll love the vamp-ups, the is-that-a-jokes, the getting loud but not that loud. A-

Songs of Resistance 1942-2018 [Anti-, 2018]
True politics, true musicianship, and true diversity, with barely an anthem or fight song to be heard ("John Brown [Feat. Fay Victor]," "Knock That Statue Down [Feat. Mark Ribot & Syd Straw]," "Ain't Gonna Let Them Turn Us Around [Feat. Steve Earle & Tift Merritt]") *

See Also