published: 25 /
In 'Vinyl Stories' Dave Goodwin speaks Ben Phillips from rising young band the Shanklins about his favourite vinyl releases
This month we have gone in search of youth and come up trumps with young Ben Phillips, the lead singer with up-and-coming outfit, the Shanklins. The Shanklins are a four-piece band, consisting of Ben J. Phillips (lead vocals/guitar), Tom Phillips (lead guitar/backing vocals), Alex Jones (bass/backing vocals) and Mitch Dodd (drums/backing vocals). Formed out of the ashes of two other bands in late 2013, the Shanklins are multi-instrumentalists and are individualistic in their songwriting abilities. Hailing from Cannock in Staffordshire and influenced by Kings of Leon, the Strokes and Oasis, plus an eclectic mix of music from across the generations, the band has fused together an energetic, exciting, individualistic sound that makes their music difficult to categorise.
The Shanklins are set to go into the studio in the coming weeks and plan to do so on a regular basis throughout the forthcoming year. In the past the Shanklins recorded a selection of their material with Tony Foster, the guitarist of the renowned band Spiritualized. Due to this connection the band performed at Deerstock, a festival in which Tony’s second band Doggen’s All Stars headlined.
Ben is busy writing at the moment which he says is getting easier now that they have developed a certain style and are happy with it. The band are trying to build up a bank of songs to be able to choose tracks for a debut album. They have gigged extensively around their hometown and are now wanting to spread their wings and go further afield.
Ben says, “I love vinyl records because they make you sit and listen to them. Most of the time I can’t be arsed to get up and change the track so I have to listen to them all which is good for me. I think you appreciate music more because of vinyl. I have actually got three turntables! One on my desk, one on the floor that never gets used and I have also got a suitcase type one.”
The first vinyl record he ever bought out of his own money was Bob Dylan’s 1964 third album ‘The Times They Are a-Changin'. I thought at first that he might have inherited it from his dad, but for a young lad he has in fact built up a decent-sized collection. It is not new 180 gram stuff either. It is all original material that he has bought from record shops or car boot sales. We start here with Ben J. Phillip’s ‘Vinyl Stories’.
Devo – ‘Freedom of Choice’.
The third album by new wave musicians Devo was released in May 1980. It saw the band reverting to a more synth-dominated sound but still using their unique guitar sound. The album was co-produced by Robert Margouleff, famous for his synthesizer work in Tonto's Expanding Head Band and with Stevie Wonder. It contains Devo's biggest hit song, ‘Whip It’. Ben states, “When you look at the band and hear them everything about them is so cool. The whole album is just brilliant. There's something loud and mad about them. That was the first record I ever had to play as well.”
Bob Dylan – ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’
The second studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan was released in 1963 by Columbia Records. His first full outing had just two of his own compositions on it whereas this one had eleven of the thirteen songs originally written by the man himself. The album includes ‘Blowin' in the Wind’, ‘Girl from the North Country’, ‘Masters of War’, ‘A Hard Rain's a-Gonna Fall’ and ‘Don't Think Twice, It's All Right’. “I knew the album before I bought it on vinyl,” says Ben. “His first album was mostly covers but this is just non-stop brilliance. I love every track on it. He means every word he sings on that album. Some people say that when he sings that he sounds like he can’t be bothered but he meant every word on ‘Freewheelin’. My dad bought it me for Christmas one year because he knew I loved it. I think he got it off eBay or somewhere like that.”
The Beatles – ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’
Possibly the most popular record on ‘Vinyl Stories’ gets another airing. For those who don’t know, ‘Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band’ was the eighth album by the Beatles and was released in 1967. Believe it or not, it spent a massive twenty-seven weeks at the top of the album chart in the United Kingdom and fifteen weeks at number one in the United States.
Ben admits, ”I nicked this one from our drummer. His nan gave it to him because she was a massive Beatles fan. He didn’t have a record player to play it on, so I offered to play it for him on mine. We went round to ours and I never gave it him back! He knows it has gone but I don't think he knows who's got it. I remember him saying I could have it for a week or so and it never got back to him. It's just a genius album. The way the songs just flow into each other is awesome. I can listen to it for ever. I could have bought the whole album just for ‘A Day in the Life’. I can't remember where I was when I first heard that song but I just stood there on the spot and listened. It's just brilliant. I've got ‘Rubber Soul‘ as well but it didn't do it for me like ‘Sgt Pepper’s’ did. ‘Rubber Soul’ and ‘Sgt Pepper’s’ is like the difference between ‘The Empire Strikes Back and ‘The Return of the Jedi'."
Led Zeppelin – ‘Led Zeppelin II’
I'm not even going to introduce the mighty Zeppelin because if you haven't got or don't know any Zep albums or records then you must be mad.
“Just because it’s Led Zeppelin! I bought this from one of those little markets for twenty quid, and our bass player bought exactly the same album on exactly the same day for a tenner. I was that angry and I think my other mate paid two quid for his a week after that a few months ago. I was on a college course and I went to look at some records on my break and bought that. Mine is definitely an original though and I don’t know what his is. It’s got 'Whole Lotta Love' and 'Moby Dick' on it which we cover from time to time. We're all big Zeppelin fans in the band. “
Sam and Dave – ‘Soul Man ‘( Single 45 )
I would have thought Sam and Dave would need no introduction either, but for
those not in the know they were an American soul and R&B duo who performed together from 1961 through to 1981. Samuel David Moore was the higher tenor and the lower baritone/tenor was Dave Prater.
”I love Sam and Dave. I got it for my birthday once. I think I first heard this while watching ‘The Blues Brothers’. Doesn't he have a tape in a car and when he puts it in to the player you can see the words on the tape? Anyway because of that I started listening to a lot of Sam and Dave and I think that is the best.”
To finish Ben let us into a bit of a secret, “The worst album I ever bought has got to be the second Police album, ‘Regatta de Blanc’. I bought their first album ‘Outlandos d’ Amour’ and thought it was really good, and then went and bought the second and all it is three songs and a load of fillers. ‘Message in a Bottle’ and ‘Walking on the Moon’ are class songs.”
Photographs by Dave Goodwin