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

Monday 26 October 2015

Ruts DC The Fleece Bristol 24th October 2015

A couple of years ago I saw Ruts DC in Bristol and was blown away by the band but also the venue. So, on this tour as the Bristol date was scheduled for a Saturday night this was a great opportunity to get away for a short city break for a chance to see something more of the city.

This was my fourth gig in four days and I was feeling my age, so this being the penultimate gig of the UK I was expecting to meet some world weary musicians at the sound check, but Segs and Ruffy were nothing of the sort as we retired to the pub next to the venue for a pint and a chat, The Seven Stars pub has its own special place in the dark side of Bristol's history. This 18th century inn was a base for The Association for the Abolition of the Slave Trade and one of its founding members, Thomas Clarkson. From his associations with the pub and its landlord, who shunned any association with the trade that gave Bristol its wealth, Clarkson was able to disrupt the process whereby the masters of the slavers recruited hands to work the boats and thus damage the trade.

How apt that I was here talking to two blokes who themselves, through their music put up a stand against inequality and racism.

This pub visit also saw a happy reunion after an interval of 30 so years of the band with Mitt Gamon, a very hirsute gentleman who played harmonica on the Rhythm Collision Vol. 1 album.

Having missed the band at their Jazz Cafe date, this was my first chance to catch the tour support, the UK Feds, a nice group of lads from Birmingham who came highly recommended by my son Rudi (who took my ticket for the London show). They were tight as a drum and had the shiniest guitars I have ever seen, the guitarist spent 30 minutes polishing during the soundcheck!

Ruts DC took to the stage opening with a new song 'Surprise', the first of a trio of new offerings. The mix of songs selected for the set is great in that it offers something from every stage of the band's career. Mitt Gamon was invited onto the stage to supplement 'Whatever We Do' and 'Jah War'. At the soundcheck I asked him why it was necessary to transport a harmonica in such a large brief case. He replied 'Well, you never know which key you will be asked to play in so I've got 36 in here!'

'Psychic Attack' and 'Whatever We Do'
The Fleece Bristol
24th October 2015

'In A Rut' rounded off a perfect set  that brightened a very wet Bristol day.

Good luck with the dates down under!

Tuesday 20 October 2015

A Meeting With An Old Soldier Of The 11th Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers - October 2015

I have now spent a couple of years researching the military history of Jim Heath, my late maternal Grandfather with special emphasis on his time spent in North West Europe in 1944 to 1945.

The evolving history is documented here:

However, in brief, he landed with the 59th (Staffordshire) Division (5th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment) as a follow-up Division after D-Day on 25th June. Fierce fighting for the pivotal city of Caen and engagements in the area to the south east of Caen decimated the 59th to such an extent that the Division was disbanded and he was transferred to the 49th (West Riding) Division with whom he became a Royal Scots Fusilier of the 11th Battalion. With the 11th R.S.F. he fought across France, Belgium and Holland where wounds received in a notorious place known as The Island (a flooded landscape situated between the Upper and Lower Rhine that separates Nijmegen and Arnhem) ended his active service. Nevertheless, his medical reclassification from A1 to B6 meant that he was still fit for a non-front line posting overseas and he rejoined the RSF in Germany as part of the British Army of Liberation. As part of 12 D.P.A.C.S. (Displaced Persons Assembly Centre) he ended his Army service as an administrator at Bergen-Belsen camp.

My research through the Polar Bear Association  (49th (West Riding) Division) lead me to one Ken West, a hale and hearty 93 year old veteran from Leicester. Last weekend, I had the honour of spending a few hours in conversation with this gentleman to discuss various Polar Bear related topics.

Fusilier West served in D Company but returned to A Company after recovering from wounds received in Normandy. Not fancying the lot of a Rifleman again he pushed his specialism and rejoined the Battalion as a signaller. So it was that their time in the same D Company did not overlap. Nevertheless, another coincidence came to light in the course of the conversation. My Grandfather enlisted with the North Staffordshire Regiment as did Ken’s brother Ernest. For the visit I happened to have with me his order to proceed to Litchfield Infantry Training Centre. He was required to be there on 15th January 1940, the very same day that Ernest was to report too. So, it just may have been the case that Jim and Ernest were acquainted, albeit briefly.

This meeting with Ken West was highly significant for me, as some twenty years after my Grandfather’s death I had the opportunity to talk with a man who shared the same day to day experiences, the terrifying as well as the mundane, in exactly the same places at the same time. I can honestly say that when I started out on this project I never had this in my mind as a possibility.

This was certainly a photo opportunity and Ken was happy to oblige. For the occasion, his blazer and Polar Bear Association tie were retrieved from the wardrobe so that he was with 'his bling'.

Me and Fusilier Ken West 14638023
(note the red 'bling', none other than the Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur!)

We shook hands as we parted company and Ken gave Gunta a kiss with the words 'Now you can say you've not only kissed an old soldier, but a French Knight!'

I would like to thank Ken for his time (as well as his son Steve) and also to Gunta who ferried me to Leicester and back.

Saturday 17 October 2015

Adam And The Antz Cineteatro Milan 17th October 1978

We were coming back in the van from Milan and I saw God right there
Adam Ant in Milan October 1978

37 years ago the original Antz were doing a dates in Italy comprising two nights in Milan and two nights in Rome. At this point the band were a million miles from the Royal Variety friendly incarnation that Adam and the Ants went onto become. In 1978, the band were hooked on themes of fetishism (which would not look good in front of the Princess Royal!). 

The songs that they performed in Milan predated any releases (with the exception of Deutscher Girls and Plastic Surgery from Derek Jarman's weird punk film 'Jubilee' and the 'Young Parisians' single).

As good as 'Dirk Wears White Sox' is it is this material (that has surfaced on various demo bootlegs) represents the best of the Antz.

01. Nietzsche Baby
02. Deutscher Girls
03. Whip In My Valise
04. B-Side Baby
05. Friends
06. Juanito the Bandito
07. Zerøx
08. It Doesn't Matter
09. Song for Ruth Ellis
10. Catholic Day
11. Lady
12. Puerto Rican
13. Red Scab
14. Beat my Guest
15. Fall In
16. Plastic Surgery
17. Hampstead
18. Fat Fun
19. Send a Letter to Jordan

Crisis Music: The Cultural Politics of Rock Against Racism

A few weeks ago this title was brought to my attention through an article in the Guardian.

The book was originally published in 2009 and is steeply priced, but it appears to be due to be republished by Autograph (at least the photos of Syd Shelton) for a less wallet denting £30. For those in the London area there is also an exhibition.

The photographs are brilliant, including this wonderful shot of Terry and Neville from the Leeds 1981 RAR gig:

Terry Hall and Neville Staples of The Specials
Rock Against Racism and Anti-Nazi League Carnival
Potternewton Park, Leeds, 1981

The Beat
Coventry, 1981

Segs Jennings, The Ruts
Coventry, 1979

10 From '87 (9) UK Subs Jolly Boatman Hampton Court 21st December 1987

Back from when the Subs hadn't even reached the half way mark in their career road trip through the alphabet. 'Japan Today' was in the shops in 1987, the year this recording was made. This is a great sounding (mixing desk recording) originally available on cassette for purchase at various punk gigs in the late '80s.


01. Hey Santa
02. CID
03. Emotional Blackmail
04. Endangered Species
05. Rock 'n' Roll Savage
06. New York State Police
07. She's Not There
08. Limo Life
09. 500cc
10. Thunderbird
11. Streets on Fire
12. Captain Scarlet
13. SK8 Tough
14. Left for Dead
15. Rockers
16. Warhead
17. Stranglehold
18. New Barbarians
19. Tomorrows Girls
20. Teenage
21. Party in Paris
22. All I Wanna Know
23. Kicks

Friday 16 October 2015

UEA Norwich 11th October 2006

Baz at UEA 11th October 2006

Here is one that I intended to post last weekend, from the Suite XVI tour the lads roll into Norwich.



01. 5 Minutes
02. (Get A) Grip (on Yourself)
03. Spectre Of Love
04. Nice 'N' Sleazy
05. Death & Night & Blood
06. Unbroken
07. Peaches
08. Always The Sun
09. Golden Brown
10. I Hate You
11. Lost Control
12. Summat Outanowt

01. Walk On By
02. Relentless
03. Threatened
04. Burning Up Time
05. All Day & All Of The Night
06. Thrown Away
07. Duchess
08. London Lady
09. Nuclear Device
10. Dagenham Dave
11. No More Heroes

Sunday 11 October 2015

Hugh Cornwell MTC Cologne 20th September 2015

Ok folks, here's a recent offering from Hugh, here playing in the fine city of Cologne last month. Many thanks are due to the original taper for sharing with this site!


01. One Burning Desire
02. Leave Me Alone
03. Hot Cat On A Tin Roof
04. Break Of Dawn
05. Getting Involved
06. Under Her Spell
07. Beat Of My Heart
08. Lay Back On Me Pal
09. First Bus To Babylon
10. Please Don't Put Me On A Slow Boat To Trowbridge
11. Long Dead Train

01. Nice 'N' Sleazy
02. Skin Deep
03. Dagenham Dave
04. Duchess
05. Strange Little Girl
06. Golden Brown
07. Goodbye Toulouse
08. Nuclear evice
09. Hanging Around
10. Always The Sun
11. I Want One Of Those
12. Tank
13. Straighten Out
14. No More Heroes

Joy Division Paradiso Amsterdam 11th January 1980

Doin' the Ian Curtis
Joy Division

I had friends in the late '80's who were mad for Joy Division, but I never really got it. Admittedly my exposure to the band had at that time been limited to 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' and the footage of 'Shadowplay' from a rehash of Granada's 'So It Goes' put together to mark the 10th anniversary of punk in 1986 (the latter was most noted by me for Ian Curtis' unique dance moves). 

Years later I watched the desperately bleak 'Control' and as is often the way with music films a 90 minute exposure to the band in the soundtrack sticks with you like a dozen ear worms..... and then I got it. I also got the 'Heart and Soul' box set the following week!

Highly recommended!

Anyway, earlier I posted the 'Too Much Fighting On The Dancefloor' documentary in which bass player Peter Hook reflects on the violence at Joy Division gigs and that prompted me to put this one up, apparently one of the best live recordings on the band.

MP3 (as received):

01. Passover
02. Wilderness
03. Digital
04. Day Of The Lords
05. Insight
06. New Dawn Fades
07. Disorder
08. Transmission
09. Love Will Tear Us Apart
10. These Days
11. A Means To An End
12. 24 Hours
13. Shadowplay
14. She's Lost Control
15. Atrocity Exhibition
16. Atmosphere
17. Interzone

Too Much Fighting On The Dancefloor - A BBC Radio 4 Documentary

Here is a short documentary produced by BBC Radio 4 about tribalism in music and how such strong identification with a tribe frequently caused tensions that were vented in hundreds of gigs in the late '70's and into the '80s.

I started secondary school in 1980 and this was the first time I really became aware of such strong identification with one particular music or another. I thought it was a very positive thing, but then again having ' a wanker' added to a Gary Numan logo on my exercise book wasn't up there dramatically with being razored at a Specials gig!

In those first years of senior school so many fashions and musical styles were represented, mod, punk, ska, metal, futurist, casual. It wasn't so unusual for a kid to leave school on a Friday as a mod and return on Monday morning as a casual! Finding yourself I think it's called.

I suppose I saw the very tail end of some of the violence at gigs, when the bands playing were overtly political they tended to draw the opposition to them. Luckily however, I was never at the receiving end of a beating (not at a gig anyway).

To see a fight at a gig now is a rare occurrence indeed. I think the last fight I saw was actually at the back of a Specials gig, but it was a comic scene, in a slapstick, Keystone cops way, a million miles away from a night out with Sham 69 in 1978!


'Ari Up Ari!'

Saturday 10 October 2015

Head On The Lino - Portraits On Lino Block

I found myself at a rare loose end the other day so I took the opportunity to create another blog site as a repository for various lino prints that I have been doing.

If you too find yourself at a loose end, please take a look.

Monday 5 October 2015

Straighten Out The Musician Leicester 3rd October 2015

A big draw for a lot of Stranglers fans, Straighten Out offer an view of the band in the earlier years, covering the material of the first 4 studio albums. Here I have to thank Evil_Teacup who has permitted this recording (originally on Dime) to be shared here. Cheers!


Rattus Norvegicus

01. Sometimes
02. Goodbye Toulouse
03. London Lady
04. Princess of the Streets
05. Hanging Around
06. Peaches
07. Grip
08. Ugly
09.  Down In The Sewer

10. I Feel Like A Wog
11. The Raven
12. Peasant In The Big Shitty
13. Walk On By
14. Nice n Sleazy
15. Sweden
16. Thrown Away
17. Duchess
18. Nubiles
19. Dagenham Dave
20. Something Better Change
21. Curfew
22. Tank
23. 5 Minutes
24. No More Heroes
25. Straighten Out
26. Nuclear Device - Toiler On The Sea

Sunday 4 October 2015

NEW LINK - Bataclan Paris 6th October 1978


One of the best. One last punk roar before toning it down for The Raven.

The Damned Salle Moliere Lyon 6th October 1985

A good sounding set from The Damned's self confessed goth period. This set also features the sublime 'Limit Club' which I wish they would revive!



01  Curtain Call
02  Shadow of Love
03  Neat Neat Neat
04  Wait For The Blackout
05  Grimly Fiendish
06  Stranger On The Town
07  Is It A Dream ?
08  Smash It Up
09  The Limit Club
10  I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)
11  Looking At You
12  Gun Fury
13  Street of Dreams