5 7" Vinyl Records That Are Ben Leece's Current Favourites

Ben Leece has released twin EPs titled 'Skywatching' and 'Marrow Gold'.
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An avid record collector who moonlights as a DJ and is owner of Rudderless Records in Newcastle, rock-country singer-songwriter Ben Leece has recently dropped twin EPs.

Titled 'Skywatching' (produced by Shane Nicholson) and 'Marrow Gold', the new releases came about after Leece's touring (including trips to the US and Europe) opportunities evaporated in the wake of the pandemic.

'Skywatching' was intended to be Ben's sophomore album and follow-up to his debut LP, 'No Wonder The World I Exhausted', that was also produced by Nicholson.

But Ben found himself deciding to walk down a different creative path. "Coming into the second album, I had a much clearer idea of who I wanted to be and what I wanted to sound like and whilst I love the songs and they sound great, something was missing."

Thus the arrival of the 'Marrow Gold' EP, which sets the scene for what's to come from Leece.

The EP was recorded live at Golden Retriever Studios in Sydney under the direction of producer Adam Young and engineer Tim Whitten.

Young and Whitten's previous effort was Katie Brianna's 2021 LP 'This Way Or Some Other'. "After hearing Katie Brianna's album, I wanted to do whatever she had done," admits Ben.

"Obviously, world-class writing helps, but sonically the record is stunning. Adam and Tim did such a great job and I loved the idea of tracking as a live band [with his band Left Of The Dial] in the same room."

Now the Stanley Records artist and his band are embarking on a tour as part of the label's Travelling Medicine Show, which also features the aforementioned Brianna, Dave Favours & The Roadside Ashes and Sam Shinazzi.

With the showcase series to also feature a Rudderless Records pop-up store, here Leece shares his love of vinyl records by selecting his current favourite 7" releases (in no particular order).

Cookin' On 3 Burners - 'Mind Made Up / Losin' Streak' (Freestyle Records FSR7080)

From the 3 Burners' 2014 album 'Blind Bet', this cracking Kylie Auldist vocal fills me with absolute joy. If you're a stickler for accurate filing you'll find this 45 in the neo-soul crate, but it sounds like a classic to me.

Doug Shorts - 'Get With The Program / Heads Or Tails' (Daptone Records – DAP-1122)

Out of Chicago comes Dougie Shorts. As far as I can tell he’s been releasing music since the early '80s, but came to my attention when he joined the Daptone label to release the 'Casual Encounter' EP.

The bassline in this song is absolutely cooking and Doug's voice is as smooth as like. If your neck ain't in a groove, if you ain't pulling funk faces 20 seconds into this thing, well, you're probably dead.

Mad Skillz / Johnny Guitar Watson – 'The Nod Factor / Superman Lover' (5 Borough Breaks – 5BB025)

Most of the funk and soul that I dig has been introduced to me via sampling, so to me, the 5 Borough Breaks series is EVERYTHING. They feature the hip hop track on one side and the classic song it samples on the flip.

Mad Skillz and Johnny Guitar Watson on the same record. Perfect.

Chaka Khan - 'Shuggy Edits: Shuggy Edits Vol. 1' (Shuggy45s – SHUG1)

I love Chaka Khan. She is an absolute God and I am never not in awe of an artist that releases an absolute killer joint late in a career.

The A-side of this 45 is the original Switch (Major Lazer) produced track 'Like Sugar', with the B-side a DJ Shug edit that incorporates more of the Fatback Band's 'Do The Bus Stop' sample. Gold.

Grand Puba, The Sunny Daze Band - 'I Like It / The Jam' (Good For You Records – GFY45001)

Originally released in 1995 on the ‘2000’ LP, 'I Like It' became a classic for ex-Brand Nubian MC Grand Puba. In 2021, the instrumental was re-recorded by The Sunny Daze Band with Puba doing over the vocal and adding extra verses.

Had you pitched me this idea before it happened, I'd have turned my nose up; imagine my surprise when the redo turns out to be a deadset soul warmer.

Stanley Records Travelling Medicine Show 2022 Tour Dates

Fri 6 May - The Chippo (Sydney)
Sat 7 May - Link & Pin (Central Coast)
Sat 14 May - Stag & Hunter Hotel (Newcastle)
Sun 15 May - The Brass Monkey (Sydney)
Sat 21 May - Royal Hotel (Hunter Valley)
Sun 22 May - The Junkyard (Hunter Valley)
Sat 28 May - Lulie Tavern (Melbourne)
Sun 29 May - Pistol Pete's (Geelong)

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