Aural Sculptors - The Stranglers Live 1976 to the Present

Welcome to Aural Sculptors, a blog aimed at bringing the music of The Stranglers to as wide an audience as possible. Whilst all of the various members of the band that have passed through the ranks since 1974 are accomplished studio musicians, it is on stage where the band have for me had their biggest impact.

As a collector of their live recordings for many years I want to share some of the better quality material with other fans. By selecting the higher quality recordings I hope to present The Stranglers in the best possible light for the benefit of those less familiar with their material than the hardcore fan.

Needless to say, this site will steer well clear of any officially released material. As well as live gigs, I will post demos, radio interviews and anything else that I feel may be of interest.

In addition, occasionally I will post material by other bands, related or otherwise, that mean a lot to me.

Your comments and/or contributions are most welcome. Please email me at

Sunday, 19 April 2015

The Newtown Neurotics Dingwalls Camden April 1980

It's election year again and The Newtown Neurotics are still railing against bad politicians and bad politics. Here they are in a different era from this month 35 years ago and less than one year into Margaret Thatcher's administration (a period that would have such a powerful influence over the band's career throughout the 1980's).

A great sounding recording for it's age.


01. Oh No!
02. Licensing Hours
03. Ramones Medley
    - Oh Oh I Love Her So
    - Blitzkrieg Bop
04. Hypocrite
05. When The Oil Runs Out
06. You Said No
07. Bored Policemen
08. Peggy Sue
09. When I Need You
10. Mindless Violence
11. I Get On Your Nerves
12. No Sanctuary (Harlow)

Jerry Dammers - Mojo Magazine May 2015

This month's 'Mojo' magazine sees a brilliant feature interview with Jerry Dammers. The interview marks the release of remastered and expanded versions of 'Specials', 'More Specials' and 'In The Studio'.

Since it is The Specials that have given rise to this interview, Jerry very quickly gets drawn into discussion about his former band mates and the 'reunion' (here stated in inverted commas as Dammers contests the very notion The Specials' reunion).

To understand the issues that have seen The Specials lose two more original members is beyond me, but clearly many of the problems and personality clashes that caused the original bust up in 1981 remain to this day. It certainly does not seem to be the case that without the dominating personality of 'The General' all would go on to be harmonious in the post 2008 Specials camp. They fell out all by themselves!

Having been treated to some of the greatest gigs I have ever seen from The Specials minus 1, it would be wrong for me to say that they should not have embarked on this new adventure without Jerry Dammers, but now they need a rethink. First Neville threw in the towel citing a lack of understanding from his fellow musicians following a stroke suffered whilst on tour in the US and then Roddy buggered off. Inevitably the sound of the band has changed without these key contributors to that Specials sound.

It seems astounding to think that I can watch a line up featuring Horace, Brad, Lyn and Terry and come away feeling a bit deflated, but that is only as a result of seeing them back in 2009.

I thought that the band's last London gig at The Troxy would likely be their last, but I notice that they will be playing Kew this year.

I'm wondering now.

Blur Mr. Albarn's Combo

What with Blur being hot news once again on the back of the new album, 'The Magic Whip', here's some vintage Blur primarily from the 'Parklife' era back when Brit Pop was king.



01. She's So High
02. Popscene
03. Chemical World
04. Parklife
05. To The End
06. Bank Holiday
07. Jubilee
08. Girls & Boys
09. Badhead
10. Tracy Jacks
11. For Tomorrow (Extended)
12. Parklife
13. Top Man
14. Mr. Robinson's Quango
15. Charmless Man
16. It Could Be You
17. Stereotypes
18. Country House
19. The Universal

Tracks 1 & 2 are from Blur-ti-go promo CD
Track 3 live on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, 1993
Track 4 live on Simon Mayo, Aug 1994
Track 5 live at Glastonbury Festival, 1994
Tracks 6 & 12 live on Jools Holland Hootenanny, Dec 1994
Track 7 live on Top of the Pops, Feb 1995
Track 8 live on Nulle Part Ailleurs, 29 Aug 1994
Tracks 9-11 live at National Bowl, Milton Keynes, 29 Jul 1995
Tracks 13-19 live at BBC Radio Theatre, London, 7 Sep 1995

Jake Burns And The Big Wheel The Studio Bristol 12th February 1984

Here's a transfer I did some years ago from an old cassette. It is the only gig recording of Jake's post SLF outfit 'The Big Wheel' that I have come across which first saw Jake and drummer Steve Grantley sharing the stage. Therefore, I think that this is quite a rare and interesting recording. All the more so in that the short support set features two songs written and recorded by Jake, Dolphin Taylor and Bruce Foxton back in 1983 whilst the dust from the recent implosion of SLF was still settling. Those songs are:

  • Shake It Off (Burns/Taylor)
  • Not What We Were (Pro Patria Mori) (Burns/ Ogilvie)

These two songs finally saw the light of day on the low key Castle Communications CD single release of 'Harp' in 1994.

Here's what Mr Burns had to say about them on the sleeve notes.

'11 years seems a long time to wait to release a record after you've recorded it, but that's how long ago the B-side to this single was made. You see, Dolph and myself were without a band at this point, although we did have some tunes. What we needed was a bass player to complete our unit. Bruce was at a loose end, and through a series of phone calls by and through mutual friends, we all ended up in a studio in April/May 1983. (Well, we actually all ended up in 'The Cat and Helicopter' or whatever the pub was called down the road from the studio, but eventually we ended up in the studio). It was a brief collaboration, too many other offers were on the table at the time and these took precedence over this particular project. So, no hard feelings and everyone went on their way.

However, fate has a strange way of intervening in your life and 11 years later here we all are in the same band, albeit a different band musically to the one we envisioned in 1983. That is the main point to make about these tracks, they are NOT Stiff Little Fingers songs. But, I know from talking to many of you on the road etc.... that there is a considerable interest in 'what might have been'. So, here they are... two demos that were never meant to see the light of day outside of record company offices or our private collections.

I hope that they are as interesting as you thought they 'might have been'. Remember it was a long time ago!

Jake Burns'


01. Warsaw
02. Shake It Off
03. In The Company Of Strangers
04. On Fortune Street
05. Capital Lives
06. Innocent Man
07. Pick It Up
08. Trapped Inside
09. Pro Patria Mori
10. Here Comes That Song Again
11. Race You To The Grave

Jake Burns And The Big Wheel played support to The Alarm at this gig.

And while I am at it here's a new link to the Janice Long Session that they did from 16th April 1986.


01. She Grew Up
02. Breathless
03. Trapped Inside
04. Belfast 14

Saturday, 18 April 2015

RESTORED LINK! - Espace Tony Garnier Lyon 18th April 1985

Here's a restored link for an anniversary gig from the European leg of the 'Aural Sculpture' tour.


Sunday, 12 April 2015

XSLF 2015 Tour Dates

And talking of SLF, Henry Cluney and Jim Reilly's outfit, XSLF are touring extensively throughout 2015. Catch them if you can.

Stiff Little Fingers In Bed With Medinner Session Broadcast 29th April 1994

Jake Burns & Bruce Foxton
Stiff Little Fingers
In Bed With Medinner
29th April 1994

Here's another session from the late night comedy and music show 'In Bed With Medinner'. This session featured the brilliant 'Harp', Jake Burns's furious riposte to racist attitudes encountered by the immigrant Irish population in the east coast cities if the U.S.

As an aside I recall Gunta pointing out that at this point Jake could have been a body double for Lovejoy's assistant Eric Catchpole!

Chris Jury a.k.a. Lovejoy's Eric Catchpole

01. At The Edge
02. Harp
03. Alternative Ulster