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

Wednesday 31 December 2014

Hugh Cornwell The Liquid Room Edinburgh 29th November 2014

To the best of my knowledge this is the first recording to surface from the Hugh and Hazel dates from November and December. A big thanks is due to yesican for sharing his recording. Great sounding boot.......



01. Intro
02. Totem And Taboo
03. Skin Deep
04. Stuck In Daily Mail Land
05. Dagenham Dave
06. I Want One Of Those
07. Duchess
08. Beat Of My Heart
09. Strange Little Girl
10. God Is A Woman
11. Peaches
12. Gods, Guns And Gays
13. (Get A) Grip (On Yourself)
14. A Street Called Carroll
15. Straighten Out
16. In The Dead Of Night
17. Nice ‘N’ Sleazy
18. Tank
19. No More Heroes
20. Hanging Around

The Liquid Room, Edinburgh
29th November 2014

Tuesday 30 December 2014

Setting Sons - The Album Of A Decade?

This Christmas I received a copy of the Setting Sons Super Deluxe box set. Thankfully it was half price (full price would be somewhat excessive, regardless of the quality of the package, for an album I already own in CD and vinyl).

The package consists of the album and associated singles/b-sides, a CD of demo material, a previously unreleased live recording from the 'Setting Sons' tour (Brighton Centre 15th December 1979, soon to be released in its own right I understand) and a DVD of relevant videos.

But just to consider the album itself......

Originally conceived as a concept album only a handful of the songs that made the final cut are related ('Thick As Thieves', 'Little Boy Soldiers', Burning Sky' and 'Wasteland' which describe how the solid friendships of the teenage years can fall apart in adulthood as personalities and aspirations change with the passing of time - 'Some bonds severed and others made').

The Jam were at a precarious point in their career at the time of 'Setting Sons'. The mod revival was in full swing in 1979, thanks in no small part to The Jam themselves, but bands who become aligned with faddish musical movements often fall down with them as soon as the mood changes and the music press decide on the next big thing. The Jam were too good and too important a band to suffer such a fate. 'Setting Sons' has plenty of mod reference points across its two sides however, The quality of the social observation in the song writing can be compared very favourably with that of Ray Davies. 'Saturday's Kids' is both a celebration and a scathing critique of the lives of working class kids (of whom Weller himself was one) who gravitated towards the revived mod scene of '79/'80. There's also a cover of Matha Reeves and the Vandellas Motown classic 'Heatwave' on there (..... and perhaps it shouldn't be in the sense that it is an uncomfortable fit with the rest of the material).

The gulf between the unemployed working class and the privileged young elite of the British public school system in the austere climate in the UK in the late 1970's is described in 'The Eton Rifles'. Young unemployed marchers on a Right to Work demonstration in 1978 clashed with members of the Eton College Cadet Corps who abused the marchers in nearby Slough. Hilariously, when PM David Cameron, an old Etonian (and member of the Cadet Corps) stated 'The Eton Rifles' to be one of his favourite songs, Weller responded thus  "Which part of it didn't he get? It wasn't intended as a jolly drinking song for the cadet corps."

My highlight on the album is undoubtedly 'Little Boy Soldiers', a complex piece of several distinct parts, much like that other favourite 'Down In The Sewer'. It describes a disillusioned young soldiers disdain of the establishment figures who sent him off to fight for Queen and Country.

"These days I find that I can't be bothered,
These days I find that its all too much,
To pick up a gun and shoot a stranger,
But I've got no choice so here I come - war games."

The song closes with the devastating lines:

"These days I find that I can't be bothered,
To argue with them well what's the point,
Better to take your shots and drop down dead,
then they send you home in a pine overcoat

With a letter to your mum

Saying find enclosed one son - one medal and a note -
to say he won."

Followed by a thunderous piano chord that unashamedly nods to the Beatles 'A Day In The Life'.

There's not a duff track on 'Setting Sons', with the possible exception of the aforementioned 'Heatwave'.... not a bad track but misplaced on the album. The intensity and claustrophobia of 'Private Hell' and the cynicism contained in 'Burning Sky' belie that fact that the principal songwriter was only 21 years old!

Few recordings exist from the 'Setting Sons' tour. The Rainbow and now the Brighton Centre gigs in December 1979 are both official releases. This recording from Park West, Chicago in March of the following year features a 'Setting Sons' heavy set. It is an upgrade from the show previously uploaded here (with a dead link), but ''A' Bomb in Wardour Street' is missing.


01. Saturday’s Kids
02. Burning Sky
03. Thick As Thieves
04. It’s Too Bad
05. Going Underground
06. Mr Clean
07. Butterfly Collector
08. Private Hell
09. Little Boy Soldiers
10. Smithers-Jones
11.The Dreams Of Children
12. To Be Someone
13. The Eton Rifles
14. Strange Town
15. When You’re Young
16. Down In A Tube Station At Midnight
17. Girl On The ‘Phone
18. All Mod Cons
19. David Watts (fades out)

'The St John's Ambulance Bearers' by Benjamin Clemens (1919)
Imperial War Museum

Manic Street Preachers The Roundhouse London 17th December 2014

This one is brought to you courtesy of Chatts99 (cheers!). The band don't do it so much for me, but I know that there is a fair cross-over interest in the Manics. I have never seen them, the closest I came to doing so was when a mate's band supported them at the Bull & Gate pub in Kentish Town. That would have been around the time of the release of 'Motown Junk'. For some reason I didn't go which looking back is a shame!

Anyway two weeks ago their 'Holy Bible' mini-tour concluded in London town and Chatts captured it well.



The Holy Bible

01 Yes
02 Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthforonedayitsworldwouldfallapart
03 Of Walking Abortion
04 She Is Suffering
05 Archives Of Pain
06 Revol
07 4st 7lb
08 Mausoleum
09 Faster
10 This Is Yesterday
11 Die In The Summertime
12 The Intense Humming Of Evil
13 P.C.P.

Hits And Others

14 Show Me The Wonder (Accoustic)
15 Motorcycle Emptiness
16 Dreaming A City (Hughesovka)
17 You Stole The Sun From My Heart
18 Postcards From A Young Man
19 Europa Geht Durch Mich
20 If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next
21 Donkeys
22 Walk Me To The Bridge
23 Divine Youth
24 You Love Us

25 A Design For Life

'Motorcycle Emptiness'
The Roundhouse, London
16th December 2014

Saturday 20 December 2014

The Brain of Farley Grange and Other Poems: A Collection of Humorous Verse for Children by Henry Lardings - A Shameless Book Plug

Apologies for this shameless plug of a book that has recently been brought to my attention. I was well acquainted with the author many years ago when he went by a different name. In fact we studied together in London as we tried to fathom the hidden secrets of blood spot distribution, scene of crime investigation techniques and semen detection. So keen we we in fact to harness this forensic knowledge that our studies were extended each evening, continuing in The Lyceum, The Anchor or The George (depending upon which side of the Thames we found our self on). With our studies successfully completed, thanks in a large part to the long hours extra 'study', we each took up careers that had sod all to do with the scientific detection of crime!

Now more than 20 years on he has produced a book of Children's verse which is really rather good. 'The Brain of Farley Grange and Other Poems: A Collection of Humorous Verse for Children' contains a couple of stories in verse and a handful of shorter poems. The title poem is subtitled 'A Cautionary Tale of Capitalism for Kids' and warns of the perils of greedy aspirations in a style reminiscent of Roald Dahl's 'Dirty Beasts'.

The book is available as a kindle ebook for the princely sum of 77 pence (of which a third of the profit will go to Médecins Sans Frontières) here:

The Brain of Farley Grange and Other Poems: A Collection of Humorous Verse for Children

Now, the demographic of people who visit this site tends towards the older end of the scale (aging punks basically) and have children or in some cases grandchildren, who I believe would very much appreciate the whimsical witterings of Henry Larding.

Sunday 14 December 2014

10 From '87 (6) Public Image Limited The Astoria London, 28th September 1987

I had completely forgotten about this show and the fact that I was there! (it's my ticket stub on the artwork). Looking back I always had it in my head that I saw 'early' PiL, as in pre-reformation, three times but it would appear to be four times. Three of those gigs were very memorable (Brixton Academy 1986, Kilburn National 1987 and a car crash of a gig at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1989). Maybe it was the venue, I never liked The Astoria, in contrast to the Academy and The National, and I wasn't particularly saddened when it was demolished to make way for the new cross-rail construction. Take a look at the set though and I would say that it should have been a good gig. Promoting the 'Happy?' album at the time, the set admittedly doesn't lay much emphasis on the late '70's and early '80's PiL, but nevertheless it features the best of 'Album' with a few surprises in there as well including Lydon's influential collaboration with Afrika Bambata 'World Destruction' and 'Holidays in the Sun' (who would have thought back in 1987 that the actual Pistols would play again!).

The sound quality on this one is quite good as well.



1. Save Me
2. Rise
3. Seattle
4. Allah
5. FFF
6. Open & Revolving
7. Low Life
8. Home
9. Rules & Regulations (cut)
10. (continued)
11. Hard Times
12. Fat Chance Hotel
13. World Destruction
14. Angry
15. The Body
16. Round
17. Public Image
18. Holidays In The Sun
19. This Is Not A Love Song (cut)
20. (continued)
21. Religion

Baz Warne At The Stroud Inn East Kilbride 21st Novembwe 2014

Here's a recent solo outing from Baz in which the expected Stranglers material is mixed up with some interesting covers of which Johnny Cash's tremendous 'The Man Comes Around' (a powerhouse description of Armageddon recorded towards the end of the great man's life) and John Hiatt's 'Perfectly Good Guitar' ("It breaks my heart to see those stars, smashing a perfectly good guitar") stand out for me.

The sound quality is not the greatest and the audience are quite noisy throughout (it would have tipped Hugh over the edge!), but it is an interesting gig for all that. Many thanks to yesican for the recording.



01. Intro
02. The Man Comes Around
03. Perfectly Good Guitar
04. Barbara (Shangri-La)
05. One Of Us
06. Long Black Veil
07. My Fickle Resolve (Abandoned)
08. Only Women Bleed
09. Relentless
10. Walk On By
11. Nice 'N' Sleazy
12. Goodbye Toulouse
13. Bless You (Jock The Box - Abandoned)
14. Bless You
15. Spectre Of Love
16. Strange Little Girl
17. Golden Brown
18. Who Wants The World?
19. Always The Sun
20. Rockin' In The Free World

Sunday 7 December 2014

Rat's Lair Podcasts - October 2006

Some time ago, I downloaded a quartet of of podcasts from the Rat's Lair archive. Looking today, with the demise of mamstore, the links appear to be dead, so here they are again for those that are interested. Recorded at the time of Suite XVI, this makes an interesting 30 minute or so snapshot of where the band were at in the immediate aftermath of Paul's departure.


NEW LINK - Hamburg Markthalle 27th November 1979

Resurrected link to a classic Raven gig!


Hugh Cornwell Interview On Susy Radio 103.4

A big thanks goes to MeAnIe for this one. Using my finely honed powers of deduction I figure that Susy (as in the name of the radio station) is derived from Sussex and Surrey, the station covering the Gatwick and Reigate area, some 20 minutes from my parents place. It is rather strange then that this recording reached me via Australia!

Here Hugh talks briefly about the co-headlining tour with Hazel O'Connor, ahead of last week's gig in Brighton.


Hugh and Hazel perform 'Hanging Around'
Robin 2 Bilston 25th November 2014

The Slits Talking Heads, Southampton, 15th October 2009

Still on the subject of The Slits, here's a later incarnation of the band recorded in 2009 in Southampton (many thanks to the original uploader).



01. Shoplifting
02. FM
03. New Town
04. Reject
05. Fadeaway
06. Crew War
07. Love und Romance
08. Man Next Door
09. World Of Grownups
10. Cry Baby
11. Typical Girls
12. Vindictive
13. Heard It Through the Grapevine
14. Animal Space
15. Partner From Hell

Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys - Viv Albertine

I never really knew a great deal about The Slits other than they were a band equivalent of a hand grenade that exploded in the first wave of punk and that they were a band that people were genuinely scared of!. I must be one of the few people with an interest in the '77 punk scene who does not own a copy of 'Cut'. But in terms of guitarist Viv Albertine's book that doesn't matter, What 'Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys' offers is a very open and candid view into the inner circle of the London punk scene. Key personalities within punk are seen from a perspective that is very different from their stage personas (especially Mick Jones and Sid Vicious). The ever present threat of violence faced by 'punks' on the streets is vividly described as are the internal pressures of being in a band such as The Slits.

The Slits for the first time played music in an all female band that did not attempt to copy how men played in a band and for that any woman playing in a band is indebted to this band.

Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys

Sunday 30 November 2014

Rock City Nottingham 4th November 1998

Yesterday, I purchased an Eagle Classics reissue of 'About Time', 'Coup De Grace' and 'Written In Red'. Of these the latter two I have never heard them in their entirety, having drifted away from the band by the time of their release. I will listen to them today...... I suspect I may need counselling.

But in the interest of even handedness, here's a gig from the 'Coup De Grace' tour- which I actually saw in Cambridge and sadly hated the experience. Nevertheless, the band struggled through this period with a tenacity typical of The Stranglers and to many this is a period in their career that is viewed fondly.

MP3 (as received):


01. God Is Good
02. Coup De Grace (S-O-S)
03. Skin Deep
04. Money
05. Golden Boy
06. Nice 'N' Sleazy
07. Thrown Away
08. Sinister
09. The Raven
10. In The End
11. Toiler On The Sea

01. Tonight
02. Always The Sun
03. Wasteman
04. 96 Tears
05. Straighten Out
06. Brainbox
07. All Day & All Of The Night
08. Duchess
09. Encore Break
10. Golden Brown
11. 5 Minutes
12. Encore Break
13. Hanging Around
14. No More Heroes

Sunday 23 November 2014

Adam Ant Celebrates The 35th Birthday of Dirk Wears White Sox - Islington Academy 22nd November 2014

Finally, this was my chance to see Adam Ant play the brilliant 'Dirk Wears White Sox' album. I had tickets back in April to see the performance at  the Hammersmith Odeon/Apollo (or what ever the hell name it goes by this month), but it clashed with the Wonky Bus dates so something had to give, and on this particular occasion it was Adam. But hey, this was much better, rather than see him do it in Hammersmith (which in my own opinion is one of the most sterile venues in London, not to mention a pig to get to for me) these dates were to be played in the small Islington Assembly Hall which forms part of the Town Hall.

I have seen Adam play on and off for the past 33 years. In fact that would definitely tend towards the 'off' end of the scale as in this period I have only seen him three times, in 1981, 1995 and now in 2014. 1982 could have been added to that list as through the Bivouac fan club I was allocated a ticket for his first solo gig following the disbanding of the Ants..... but my parents wouldn't let me go!

First time around it was on the Prince Charming Review when Adam Ant was a fully fledged rock star. As a 12 year old at the time, I thought the album was OK, but pretty tepid in comparison with 1980's 'Kings Of The Wild Frontier' (which was the first album I bought off my own back). What was good about the Prince Charming period was the B-sides of the big hit singles for which Adam and Marco delved deep into Adam's Ants past and rerecorded tracks that earlier incarnations of the band had recorded several years earlier. In this way, such tracks as 'Christian D'oir' (b/w Prince Charming), 'Beat My Guest' (b/w Stand and Deliver) and 'Friends' (b/w Ant Rap) first came to my attention. This was a trend that the two solo Ants continued after the break up with the likes of 'Red Scab' (b/w Goody Two Shoes) and 'Juanito The Bandito (b/w Friend Or Foe). Even to my young mind, these B-sides made more of an impression on me than the big hits.... and I was oblivious to the fact that they were old songs.

Thereafter it was a case of working backwards. Upon the shock announcement that Adam was culling the Ants, a series of early recordings were released in order to milk the final pint from the cash cow that was Adam and the Ants before Adam himself potentially sank in the choppy and fickle sea of teenage pop fandom.

'Deutscher Girls'/'Plastic Surgery' from Derek Jarman's unfathomable punk film 'Jubilee' was released as was a collection of early Ants recordings on the 'Ant Music E.P.'. Prior to this and in parallel with getting 'Kings' and 'Prince Charming' I was busy acquiring the early pre-Marco singles..... 'Zerox', 'Cartrouble' etc. Then 'Dirk Wears White Sox' came my way, probably in early 1982.

Towards the end of the lifetime of the Ants, my musical allegiance was switching from Adam and Toyah to The Stranglers and The Damned (Gary Numan and Tubeway Army were also well in the mix at this point). It was only when I went to Uxbridge in 1988 that friends introduced me to the mass of material that pre-dated the 'Dirk' album (and incidentally was the source of all of those all important re-recorded B-sides). On cassettes I heard a plethora of demos 'Madam Stan', 'Decca' etc. With tastes that had matured somewhat it became apparent to me that the best material that Adam and the Ants produced pre-dated even 'Dirk' (as great as that was) and with the exception of those B-sides the majority of it had never seen the light of day.

Switch to the present day, or yesterday in fact and the gig.

Adam and his band ran through the 'Dirk Wears White Sox' album in its entirety and I was transformed back to my bedroom 30 years ago. I can't believe that it was all reproduced so well, These songs can be best described as quirky, but the band did a magnificent job on it, especially with the falsetto harmonies that feature frequently across the album. Personal favourites of 'Nine Plan Failed' and 'The Day I Met God' were clear highlights, as was 'Zerox'.

'Nine Plan Failed'
Adam Ant at Islington Assembly Hall
22nd November 2014

'Table Talk'

Part of the show was given over to acoustic performances of S.E.X. and 'Picasso (Visita El Planeta De Los Simios)'. A nod was given to the direction that the Ants took after Malcolm McLaren took the first band when Adam played 'Kings of the Wild Frontier' and 'Dog Eat Dog'. Aside from that only a cover of Dave Berry's 'Strange Effect' and possibly a new song took the set beyond the 1970's Antz. This was manna from heaven for me... a perfect 1979 time capsule and yet sounding completely contemporary.

And finally, a treat in the form of the wonderful 'Bathroom Function'!

The Specials At The Troxy, London 21st November 2014

This gig posed me a problem. For the first time in the years of gig-going I double booked, such was the interval between booking and show. A few weeks ago I got a ticket to see The Angelic Upstarts and Sham 69 in Islington having forgotten that I had an engagement with The Specials across town in Limehouse the same night.

The Specials won out by virtue of the fact that their tickets were twice as costly and I had two of them.

It would have been good to have seen Graham Coxon, but sadly poor connections from home to the Commercial Road meant that we only arrived 10 minutes ahead of The Specials taking the stage. The first thing you notice is how beautiful the venue is, a lost secret tucked away in East London. I looked it up on Wikipedia and found that this art decco treasure first opened in 1932 and played host to the likes of Vera Lynne and Clark Gable in its day before falling in decline in the post-war years. Recently saved from it's use as a Mecca Bingo emporium, in the right hands this could be a great  addition to the London music scene.

And so The Specials came on to Ghost Town, in my opinion one of the greatest songs ever penned, but unfortunately one that the band have always struggled with to nail in a live setting. So now The Specials were out of the blocks, the brass were in place as were the strings (an addition from the last couple of years) and yet despite there being a full complement of musicians on the stage there were some very big holes. As ever, Lyn did his level best to fill those holes but even his stage exuberance could not mask the fact that Neville and now Roddy were absent. In Roddy's place was ex-Ocean Colour Scene guitarist Steve Craddock. Now Roddy Radiation may have been a thorn in the band's side, but he was the lead guitarist of The Specials and the very fact that his relationship with some band members was at times on a rocky road no doubt contributed to the band's edge. I don't recall much being said on stage about the line up change other than Terry's lyric in 'International Jet Set' of 'Hi Roddy here, she said Roddy who?'

'Pearl's Cafe' and 'Hey Little Rich Girl'
The Troxy, 21st November 2014
(Listen out for Terry's kind words for the injured Bono)

The first part of the set was mostly dedicated to 'More Specials' and I have to say that in parts the band sounded a little discordant, but at other times the quality continued to shine through, 'Man at C&A' stood out as did 'Nite Klub', as always. Finally, I got my wish to hear them play 'Why?' which was preceded by Lynval's introduction that set the song in the context of the near fatal knife attack in the centre of Coventry and the racially motivated beating he received in West Hampstead after a gig at the Moonlight Club.

At this point we moved back a little to see the rest of the band. Despite my misgivings about the band without Neville and Roddy (I won't even venture into Jerry territory here) I never tire of watching the rhythm powerhouse of Horace and Brad doing what they so so well and seemingly effortlessly (although I am sure it is not!).

After 'Gangsters' we headed back out onto Commercial Road, homeward bound. I have no regrets about the gig, I'm glad that Terry & Co won out over Mensi & Co. I have no doubt that, were this my first live exposure to The Specials I would have absolutely loved it, but with earlier gigs in 2009 particularly they set a very high bar to top.

A Less Than Favourable Review of Aural Sculpture

OK it came from the pages of bimonthly teen pop publication 'Smash Hits', who at the time were fawning over Nik Kershaw and Spandau Ballet, so not earth shattering for the band.......

Smash Hits
22nd November -5th December 1984

Aural Sculptors Passes 500,000 Hits!

The site hit another landmark this morning marking half a million hits! Thanks to everyone's support over the last few years and keep coming back as we move on to the million.

Monday 17 November 2014

Alternative Sculpture....... The Rejected Rough LP

To coincide with the great piece on the official site that tells the fascinating story of the creation of the 'Aural Sculpture' album and the inter-band tensions that shaped its construction, Here in FLAC  (and MP3) format are the original demos that were laid down prior to the involvement of Laurie Latham.

I have always held the view that some of the best material that came out of the Aural Sculpture sessions were consigned to B-side status and of those one or two of these demo tracks should have made the final cut of the album proper.

Thanks to all of those involved in the preparation of these demos for the enjoyment of all. They have long been doing the rounds but never before with this sound quality.

'Behold... The Stranglers Bring You Alternative Sculpture'.

01. Hitman
02. North Winds
03. Achilles Heel
04. Skin Deep
05. Punch And Judy
06. Here and There
07. Shakin’ Like A Leaf
08. Head On The Line
09. In One Door
10. The Beast
11. Souls
12. Hot Club




Many thanks to MeAnIe and Dom P.

Happy Birthday Aural Sculpture

In 1984, I was very much a back seat music critic. Aged 15 I was in the first term of the 4th year (that's year 10 to younger readers) when Aural Sculpture hit Woolworth's racks. Disposable income was non-existent at that time so album purchases were few and far between. When someone did buy an album (more often than not with WH Smith's vouchers received from an aging aunt on a birthday or at Christmas) they did the rounds at school and in this way music collections were built up on C90 cassettes.

Anyway, my mate and I had a habit of passing the time on the back of the school bus pouring over record sleeves and analysing the lyrical content of any albums that we got our hands on (within the bounds of good taste of course).

Aural Sculpture was one such album to receive this treatment in November of that year. Of the album tracks, then as now 'Spain' was a stand out song. The line '.... but the pleasure got caught in pain, ended up like a bull in a china shop, under the name of Spain', prompted me to read George Orwell's 'Homage to Catalonia'...... oh did I forget to mention that as well as being back seat music journo's in waiting, we also tried to carry off an air of pseudo-intellectualism (with added spots!)?..... what knobs!

Other songs hit home too, such as 'Skin Deep', 'Souls' and 'Ice Queen'. I also remember well getting hold of the singles.... much more affordable that the album and what a juvenile joy 'Vladimir and The Beast Was' to the 15 year old dirty mind..... 'Ah dear Dmitri!'.

A few months later I saw the band for the first time at the Brighton Centre and the bond with the band was firmly cemented.

'Aural Sculpture' was a flawed masterpiece in that some elements of it worked and some maybe worked not so well, this was certainly carried through to the tour with the sometimes hit and miss utilisation of the brass section.

But it was truly a Stranglers album not least in the sense that it continued the tradition of confronting and testing the fan's expectations. The addition of brass was as much a challenge to the die-hard as 'The Raven', 'The Gospel' and 'Feline' were in the preceding years. And that kind of sums up the band for me, four musicians who refuse to do what is expected of them in the studio.... and to hell with the consequences.... as a music fan i must admire that irrespective of whether I like the result of not.

The last resting place of the Ear
14th June 1988

Sunday 16 November 2014

Rolling Back The Ears - Aural Sculpture At 30!

Monday sees another notable anniversary in the career The Stranglers, for it was 30 years ago this coming Monday (17th) that CBS released 'Aural Sculpture'.

More will follow in the coming week, but as a taster, here's a contemporary interview with Hugh Cornwell broadcast on Radio Luxembourg on 19th December 1984 in which he discusses this latest album and how it came into being.


Friday 14 November 2014

Devo Moore Theatre Seattle 9th November 2009

Prepared and scheduled to be anniversary post, apologies but I got distracted and it didn't happen, but here's those Akron oddballs Devo. 'The fluid in the punk enema bag' as they once gloriously described themselves!



Sunday 9 November 2014

Dexys Midnight Runners Electric Ballroom Camden London 20th December 1979

Follwing on from my last post, here is a recording from way back when, back to the time when Dexys dressed as dockers rather than 1940's Hollywood film producers. In 1980 sales of the humble donkey jacket went through the roof thanks to the band's unofficial endorsement!

The set that DMR closed the year and the decade with was quite covers heavy at this stage, Sam & Dave's 'Hold On', Aretha's 'Respect' and a brilliant version of Johnny Johnson and the Bandwagon's 1968 hit 'Breakin' Down The Walls Of Heartache' which backed the 'Geno' single in 1980.

This set is also supplemented by a set of demo's from 1978.


Saturday 1 November 2014

Dexys On Weekend Wogan 19th October 2014

Dexys with Terry Wogan
BBC Radio 2
19th October 2014

Something of a departure from the norm of this site now. Here's Dexys from their appearance on 'Weekend Wogan' on 19th October 2014. Frontman Kevin Rowland has once again reinvented the band who are again recording and touring. I saw them play in Cambridge about 10 years ago and I have to say they didn't really do it for me then. However, as a band I have great admiration for them. Back in the day they created a pretty unique sound. In much the same way that The Specials fused the attitude of punk with the musical sensibility and rhythms of Blue Beat, Dexys also took something from punk and cooked it up with the sound of Northern Soul. Whilst never a 2 Tone act, that sound gave them a loose association with that powerhouse movement.

Here founder members Kevin Rowland and Jim Paterson are reunited with a few other noted musicians to perform:

01. Incapable of Love
02. Come On Eileen

Winter's Not So Bad - Ruts DC Hit The Road Again

Having near taken the roof of The Garage in London, Ruts DC take to the highways and byways of this green and pleasant land to entertain all. Make the effort and get yourselves along to see them somewhere near you...... you won'r regret it!

Gloucester Leisure Centre 1st November 1986

A mere 28 years ago on this day (which seems to have passed very quicky!) The Stranglers were to be found in the wild west (of England). Here's a set from the Dreamtour.



01. No More Heroes
02. Was It You?
03. Down in the Sewer
04. Nice in Nice
05. Punch and Judy
06. Souls
07. Always the Sun
08. La Folie
09. Strange Little Girl
10. Golden Brown
11. Nice 'N' Sleazy

01. Who Wants the World?
02. Big in America
03. Bring on the Nubiles
04. Shakin like a Leaf
05. Uptown
06. Tank
07. Toiler on the Sea
08. Spain
09. Peaches
10. Duchess
11. London Lady

NEW LINK: 999 Keystone Berkley CA KALX Radio Broadcast

New link added by request (Richard) can be found here

Saturday 25 October 2014

!Action Pact! Southall 16th May 1986

And now I have my West London head on!.....

Here's a gig that Action Pact did in Southall back in 1986. Sadly, this predated me, I lived in Southall for six months in 1991. In fact, I never saw this band, when they played the Richmond in Brighton I was otherwise engaged..... homework probably :(. What a swot!



01. Back To The 30's
02. Consumer Madness
03. Keep It Tickin' Over
04. Double Standards
05. Human Beings/Run With The Pack
06. People
07. Open Your Eyes
08. Cocktail Credibility
09. Last Sunrise
10. Rockaway Beach
11. Let's Have A Party

Ruts DC O2 Academy Leicester 3rd December 2013

To mark another home ground gig for Ruts DC, here's a really good sounding full set recording from the Winter 2013 tour that reunited Ruts DC with The Damned. As Junior Murvin had died the previous day, Segs dedicated the opener 'Mighty Soldier' to him and later the band played in part, his 1976 song 'Police & Thieves', covered by The Clash the following year.

Thanks to the original Dime uploader.



01. Mighty Soldier
02. Fools
03. Back Biter
04. It Was Cold
05. Smiling Culture
06. One Step
07. No Time To Kill
08. Love In Vain/Police And Thieves
09. Staring At The Rude Boys
10. West One (Shine On Me)
11. Babylon’s Burning
12. In A Rut

Ruts DC play the Garage Islington tonight.

Sunday 19 October 2014

The Guildhall Southampton 20th October 2008

The Stranglers at The Guildhall Southampton
20th October 2008

FortyTwoForty hits the south coast and here's what it sounded like.



01. Intro
02. (Get A) Grip (On Yourself)
03. Five Minutes
04. Peaches
05. Nice N Sleazy
06. Spectre Of Love
07. Skin Deep
08. No Mercy
09. Always The Sun
10. Strange Little Girl
11. Golden Brown
12. The Raven
13. Thrown Away

01. Walk On By
02. Hanging Around
03. Straighten Out
04. Big Thing Coming
05. All Day And All Of The Night
06. Duchess
07. Tank
08. Nuclear Device
09. Something Better Change
10. No More Heroes

The Long Walk To Freedom
Jet Black at at The Guildhall Southampton
20th October 2008

John Lydon On Radcliffe and Maconie - BBC 6 Music 9th October 2014

Love him or loathe him, there's no getting away from him, especially when he has a new book out! Here's Mr Rotten doing as Mr Rotten does in the company of Mark Radcliffe and Stuart Maconie on their BBC 6 Music show.

This one's for Big Andy in honour of his quest across the South East of England('s Dreaming) to get his book signed!


'Anger Is An Energy: My Life Uncensored' is out now, published by Simon & Schuster.

Sunday 12 October 2014

Highline Ballroom New York 3rd June 2013

Great gig, great location and a privilege to have been there for it. The back of my bald head can be seen on the left!

MP3 (as received):


Toiler on the Sea
Goodbye Toulouse
(Get A) Grip (On Yourself)
Norfolk Coast
Nuclear Device (The Wizard of Aus)
Freedom Is Insane
Mercury Rising
Golden Brown
Skin Deep
Always the Sun
Walk on By
Burning Up Time
Nice 'N' Sleazy
Bring on the Nubiles
Who Wants the World?
Time Was Once on My Side
No More Heroes
Five Minutes
Straighten Out
Hanging Around

Where's Wallyinblack? Gijón 4th April 2014

I can spy a few!............

The gig of the year for me thus far. 

Saturday 11 October 2014

Maison Des Sports Clermont Ferrand 11th October 1983

31 years ago The Stranglers were doing that thing that they do in the middle of France in a place called Clermont-Ferrand in the Auvergne region of the country.

This is a full set show.



01. Down In The Sewer
02. Toiler On The Sea
03. Ships That Pass In The Night
04. Its A Small World
05. No More Heroes
06. Who Wants The World
07. Never Say Goodbye
08. Golden Brown
09. Midnight Summer Dream
10. European Female
11. The Raven
12. Five Minutes
13. Tank
14. London Lady
15. Nubiles (Cocktail Version)
16. Bring On The Nubiles
17. Hanging Around