Wes Dodson: guitar, bass, drums, keyboards, mandolin, vocal
MCMXCV (1995) is a thirteen-song collection of Wes Dodson 4-track materials written, recorded, unreleased, unheard, and forgot about for near two decades.
Recorded in a one bedroom efficiency apartment that overlooked Lake Conroe (Montgomery, Texas) during the first half of 1995, MCMXCV accounts for creative output between the October 1994 release of BZ and the September 1995 recording of the first ratbastard 3-song (see timeline below).
This material has not been circulated on any previous release.
A companion release, spanning the vast output of ratbastard-era demos and outtakes is currently being drafted.
Recorded @ Snug Harbor
January – May 1995
“I Get Drunk in a Hurry”
“My Lucky Peppermint”
Recorded @ Studio M.B.R
29 Pamela Way
THE WES DODSON TIMELINE
PARAGON (1991): https://archive.org/details/paragon
GOLGOTHA (1992): http://www.soundclick.com/golgothatx
CHEESY DRIP (1993): https://archive.org/details/CheesyDrip
REVEREND JIM (1994): https://archive.org/details/reverendjim
BZ (1994): https://archive.org/details/bzdemo94reissue
WES DODSON – MCMXCV (1995):
ratbastard (1995-1998): http://www.reverbnation.com/ratbastard
RJ2K (1999): http://www.reverbnation.com/rxjx2xkxreverendjim2000
FRIENDLYS (2003-2005): http://www.reverbnation.com/friendlysmagnoliatexas
PROTARD (2007-2010): http://www.reverbnation.com/protard
REV. DR. DUBB DIABLO (2012-2013): http://www.soundclick.com/revdrdubbdiablo
RIVETHEAD MAGAZINE REVIEW
The first thing I have to say about Wes Dodson’s just-released, MCMXCV, is that it is not what I was expecting. Not in the least. Having known Wes for a while by now, being familiar with his previous work with Protard and ratbastard, hearing the podcasts he has made for Rivethead Magazine and the music that the man himself listens to, none of this could have prepared me for MCMXCV. I’m not sure exactly what it was that I was expecting in the first place, to be honest, but it wasn’t this.
I had to listen to it a couple of times before I decided that I like it. It’s kind of mellow, somewhat acoustic, sometimes instrumental, at other times jazzy, interspersed with an occasional shred-metal guitar riff or a lightning-fast finger-pickin’ lick up and down the fret board. It’s heavy, at times, yet lighter than air at others. The lyrical content, when there are lyrics at all, is just as varied and runs the gamut from deep and insightful poetry to outright trash. A wide assortment of sounds are sampled, overlaid, and employed for sonic effect throughout the tracks; everything up to and including Wes’ barking dog make cameo appearances in the background. The ingenious audio manipulation displayed here is remarkable.
Bringing to mind everyone from Moving Sidewalks to Buck Owens to Tommy Iommi, MCMXCV is a completely unique, ubiquitously soundscaped assemblage that showcases the various talents of this widely unheralded artist from the backwoods sticks of East Texas. Dodson himself performed all the arrangements and played all the various instruments – guitar, keyboards, drums, bass, and the vocal tracks as well – and produced the entire thing on a 4-track recorder during the first half of 1995, which is where the album takes its name. For many years these tapes sat forgotten and unreleased but now, after pulling them out, dusting them off and giving them a spin on the old tape deck, Dodson has digitized the recordings and set them out in a downloadable MP3 format. Does Dodson’s 20-year-old music still play well today? This listener says yes. As Dodson himself points out, there is not a single Top-40 track anywhere here, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t an audience to be found. It’s not likely to win any Grammys, but once you get into the vibe it’s pretty easy to roll along with.
The overall tone of this work, if there is one, strikes me as an expression of depressed boredom. This is not to say that it’s a depressing record. There’s no Robert Smith-like emo whining to the lyrics, and the music is neither dull nor boring at any point. All I’m saying is that the whole thing resonates of the blues even when it doesn’t sound like the blues. Recorded at a time when the artist was between bands and sometimes without work, it is less an intended composition than it is a snapshot collection of what Dodson was doing with his excess of free time back then.
Fans of down-home totally independent self-produced music everywhere will be glad he chose to spend his free time in this way. Download MCMXCV for yourself and prepare to be surprised!
Andrew C Schlett, Editor
18 March 2014
Two companion releases, one covering unreleased Cheesy Drip recordings from 1993, and the other spanning ratbastard-era demos and outtakes are both currently in the drafting stages.
____In Eternal Memory____
GERALD AUBREY ADEN
01/08/1943 - 10/10/2010
MARY ANGELA BARRERA
03/03/1957 - 01/30/2012