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

Tuesday 29 May 2018

A Big Milestone for Aural Sculptors!!

This weekend, the total number of visitors passed the one million mark which was a real thrill for me. Many thanks for all your support and positive feedback over the last seven years.



Sunday 27 May 2018

A Punky Reggae Party in Hatfield Today!

Like a 1969's revue tour, over this bank holiday weekend four of the biggest bands to ever imprint themselves in my consciousness are playing three dates across the country. Think The Two Tone Tour or The Stiff tours. We want more of this stuff, and at £40 for the four I hope it takes off!

Here's a few recordings to mark the event. Hopefully some of the sets from over the weekend will crop up in the coming weeks.

The Selecter - BBC 6 Music Session 10th October 2017


01. Interview
02. Frontline
03. Interview
04. Interview
05. The Big Badoof
06. Closing Comments

Stiff Little Fingers - The Waterfront Norwich 27th March 2017


01. Intro
02. Breakout
03. Straw Dogs
04. Just Fade Away
05. My Dark Places
06. Safe As Houses
07. Nobody's Hero
08. Each Dollar A Bullet
09. The Roaring Boys
10. At The Edge
11. Barbed Wire Love
12. Guilty As Sin
13. Roots, Radicals, Rockers & Reggae
14. When We Were Young
15. Strummerville
16. Wasted Life
17. Tin Soldiers
18. Suspect Device
19. Johnny Was
20. Gotta Gettaway
21. Alternative Ulster

The Beat - WDR Studio B Cologne Germany 23rd July 1980


01. Pussy Price
02. Two Swords
03. Tears Of A Clown
04. Big Shot
05. Rough Rider
06. Best Friend
07. Can't Get Used To Losing You
08. Hands Off...She's Mine
09. Twist And Crawl
10. Noise In This World
11. Whine And Grine
12. Ranking Full Stop
13. Mirror In The Bathroom
14. Encore Break
15. Click Click
16. Jackpot

Buzzcocks - O2 Academy Oxford 22nd October 2016


01. Boredom
02. Fast Cars
03. Totally From The Heart
04. I Don't Mind
05. People Are Strange Machines
06. What Ever Happened To?
07. Autonomy
08. Why She's A Girl From The Chainstore
09. Moving Away From The Pulsebeat
10. Nothing Left
11. Sick City Sometimes
12. It's Not You
13. Love You More
14. Promises
15. Noise Annoys
16. You Say You Don't Love Me
17. Time's Up
18. What Do I Get?
19. Orgasm Addict
20. Ever Fallen In Love (With Someone You Shouldn't've)
21. Harmony In My Head

Sunday 20 May 2018

Black & White Album Review NME 13th May 1978

To read, open save and zoom in.

East Lansing Michigan 10th April 1978

US ad for a show the day before East Lansing
(in Madison Wisconsin) 

I was thinking of a way to mark Black & White's big birthday and decided to post this gig from the US. Recorded a month prior to the release of the album admittedly. However, by April the album would be in the final stages of production and four new songs feature in this set. The sound is very good for the age of the recording and Hugh can be heard to be at his most belligerent! The band used to attribute their vocal delivery to poorly functioning equipment, however with two commercially successful albums to their credit one would have thought that they were no longer reliant on pawn shop gear. Perhaps no one told Hugh to stop shouting. 

There is no doubt that 1978 saw the band at their most ferocious intensity. Despite the popular appeal of The Stranglers, the industry were aligned in their opposition to the band forging within the four members a gang mentality that radiated malevolently from the stage during their performances in this period.

01. (Get A) Grip (On Yourself)
02. Dagenham Dave
03. Bring On The Nubile
04. Dead Ringer
05. Hanging Around
06. Nice ‘N’ Sleazy
07. No More Heroes
08. Tank
09. Threatened
10. Burning Up Time
11. Straighten Out
12. London Lady
13. Down In The Sewer
14. Peaches
15. Toiler On The Sea

Sunday 6 May 2018

Another Grave, Another Story


I have very kindly been sent some additional information about George Cox and the sinking of the HMS Lightening (thanks David James!).

From this new information it has been established that George Joseph Cox was born in Kentish Town, North London on 18th April 1871. Prior to the outbreak of war the 42 year old George was lining with his wife Florence Cox, aged 27, in a property also occupied by a baby of 8 months, Douglas James Faragher. Was this child a relative that George and Florence had taken responsibility for? In 1911 George's profession was listed as a 'Stationary Engineman' working for the Urban District Council.

At the time of his death when the 'Lightning' struck a mine George was in his 46th year and the family were then living in Trinity Road in the Southchurch area of Southend-on-Sea.

Of the aditional information that I received the press reports of the sinking and Georges funeral were particularly poignant. George's body would have appeared to have been the first confirmed death from the incident.

(source: The Cornish Telegraph 8th July 1915)

(source: The Chelmsford Chronicle 9th July 1915)

(source: The Newsman 10th July 1915)

The last report makes reference to George's family home (Great Havers Farm) and his father and brother who both served as Councillors. 

The Great Havers farmhouse survived until 2006 when it was demolished (at the time of the demolition part of the building was surving as a launderette at the junction of Havers Lane and Norfolk Way (I remember it well). The rebuilt property remains to be a launderette.

George's family residence (Great Havers Farm) in a sud state of repair (sorry!) prior to its demolition.

Today the weather was beautiful with clear blue skies and a temperature that had me stripped down to my bare minimum of T-shirt, shorts and 10-hole Dr Marten boots! These clement conditions once again prompted me to take a wander in Bishops Stortford Old Cemetery. Within its boundary walls I took a number of photographs of war graves, but it was one in particular that I had my mind set upon, since it belonged to a naval man whose ship was named on the headstone. Clearly such additional information aids and abets the process of filling in the story behind the name appearing on a 103 year old gravestone.

The garve is occupied by one G. J. Cox, Royal Navy 277601. He served as a Stoker 1st Class on HMS Lightning. That particular ship was one of the three Janus-class destroyers (the others being HMS Janus and HMS Porcupine) that were built by Palmers Shipbuilders in Jarrow. Lightning was launched on 10th April 1895.

HMS Lightening 

Come the war HMS Lightning, now reclassified as a Class A destroyer formed part of the Nore Local Defence Flotilla (from January 1915). The Nore is a sandbank located close to the mouth of the Thames Estuary.

30th June 1915 was to be the fateful day for the Lightning and a number of its crew. Responding to reported sightings of floating mines in the area of Kentish Knock Lightvessel (located in an area of shallow water off the Kent coast), the Lightning accompanied by HMS Vulture approached the mines. Three mines were safely detonated before Lightning struck another. The explosion caused the ship to break in two with the loss of 15 hands. The bow of the ship sank whilst the stern, originally thought to be worthy of salvage, was towed back into Sheerness. In the end, considered to be irreparable the stern was also subsequently destroyed.

In the aftermath of the explosion two mariners were commended for gallantry awards by the doomed ship's Captain.

"I submit for your favourable notice the conduct of Mr Edward L Calloway, Chief Artificer Engineer RN and Stoker Petty Officer Thomas A Lawrence ON K1106 - all the executive officers being in the forepart at the time of the explosion - Mr callaway took charge aft and with Lawrence launched the after float and brought away the injured men".

The mines responsible for the demise of HMS Lightening were lain by UC-1, a mine laying U-Boat launched on 26th April 1915. The mines laid by UC-1 were credited with the responsibility of sinking 41 ships and the records indicate the the Lightning was the first casualty. At the time of the sinking UC-1 was under the command of Oblt z. S. Egan von Werner.


The following image indicates where the bow section of HMS Lightning lies off the Kent coast.

Family information about Stoker Cox is sadly lacking. The CWGC website unusually offers no more information about this unfortunate sailor than what appears on the headstone. Even his Christian name is unknown to me. I would welcome further comment on this point. To my mine it is possible that G. J. Cox is related to the Cox family of photographic note (a couple of portraits from their Hadham Road studio adorn our walls).

Wednesday 2 May 2018

A 18th Century Voice From Beyond The Grave

The below information relates to a specific grave stone to be found in the old graveyard of St Michael's Church in Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire. It may be of interest to those with a leaning towards history/local history.

My original post on the 'Memories of Bishops Stortford' Facebook page read as follows:

'Trust me, whilst this is another grave post, I am not a ghoul. Since living in both Hadham Road and Apton Road over the last 23 years I have passed this particular headstone close to the pathway through the St Michael's graveyard I suppose thousands of times. It is damaged but the relevant information is still discernible. The occupant of this plot died in December 1726 at the age of 84 (a pretty impressive age for the early 18th Century!).

What this person would have lived through is really something to think about! He or she would have been born on or around 1642 and would therefore have been in their early 20's when news came up from London about such calamitous events as the lague and The Great Fire of London! I find that quite extraordinary'.

The response was very positive and provoked an enthusiastic response. Links to the sections of the Town's history online that relate to St Michael's mention the above headstone and confirm that it is the oldest in the Churchyard. More importantly it revealed the identity of the plots occupant, one Nathaniel Jones, a brasier (a worker in brass) within the town. 

Contributors to the site produced a will, that of Nathanial Jones, the eldest son of the chap in the grave. I did a further search and located a probate document that detailed the Last Will and Testament of Nathaniel Jones Senior. I have reproduced my transcription below. However, please go easy on me, this is the first 18th Century will that I have transcribed and let me tell you it is a tad challenging!

Please read the details if so inclined. It is a little repetitive and dry in a way that legal documents have always been but some poignant details shine through from this three hundred year old document. 

As a brasier in a thriving market town old man Nathaniel did very well financially. He was able to bequeath very impressive sums of money to his multitudes of Grandchildren (most of it held in trust by his Executors, son Nathaniel Jones and son-in-law, George Read until the children reached the age of 21).

On ploughing through the will first time I have to say that I felt particularly affronted on behalf of his Grandaughter, Mary Jones. Her brother, Francis, was bequeathed a bond (held by one Francis Smith of Hatfield Broadoak, a few miles distant from Bishops Stortford) for £105 to be paid on reaching the age of 21.... a pretty sum in 1726! In contrast I read that Mary was to receive the Chest of Drawers to be found in Nathaniel's bed chamber, ' together with all the linen, plate and other things that shall be in it at the time of my demise'. Lucky girl thought I, an old chest of drawers containing her octagenerian grandfather's undergarments. Let's face it, even with the most vigorous washboard and mangle treatment, your average pair of 18th century men's underpants would not be high on a Grandaughter's list of family heirlooms! However, here I did old Nath something of a disservice as in the following line it seemed that said underpants came wrapped in notes to the sum of £200 (albeit until she too reached 21).

However, joking aside, another characteristic feature of this document is the frequency with which premature death is mentioned. Correct me if I am wrong, but to the best of my knowledge no such caveat is made in modern day wills whereby everyone mentioned regardless of age appears to be within arms length of the Grim Reaper!

I found this to be a fascinating and totally unexpected exercise following on from my initial post. I photographed the grave on impulse on walking back from Pizza Express (and The Half Moon!) on Saturday afternoon. Little did I  think that just a few days later I would know more about Nathaniel Jones than I do about the majority of my own family tree! The process of transcribing the words of his will along with the statement that he had read and signed the same document was a thrill. Maybe this is what they mean by bringing history to life. I will no doubt feel a little different each and every time I walk past that fractured stone!

As an aside, reading through Nathaniel Jones's will (son of the above) he too was a man of means, but unfortunately he did not enjoy a life as long as his father as he died at the age of 50 (1680-1730).... more in keeping with the times perhaps. Nathaniel had six sons and seven daughters between 1705 and 1729 and lived at the time of his death in North Street, Bishops Stortford.

What follows is my best effort (in limited time) of transcribing the Last Will and Testament of Nathaniel Jones, Brasier of Bishops Stortford, dated 13th October 1726.

'In the name of God Amen the third day of October one thousand seven hundred twenty and six and in the thirteenth year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord George by the Grace of God of Great Britain France  and Ireland Defender of the faith, I, Nathaniel Jones the Elder of Bishops Stortford in the County of Hartford, Brazier being aged – but of a sound disposing mind and memory thanks be given to almighty God for the same do therefore ordain make and declare this my Testament and Last Will in a manner and form following, that is to say first and principally with fear and reverence I commit and bequeath my soul into the merciful hands and protection of almighty God my Creator hoping assuredly to receive the same (?) with comfort at the great and general day of Judgement through the alone and merits death and ________  of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and my body I will to the Earth whereof it is a member to be ______________ buried at the discretion of my Executors hereafter named and as to those worldly goods and Estate which it hath pleased almighty God blessd me with all I dispose thereof in manner following imprimio.

 I give and bequeath to my dearly beloved Grandson Ffrancis Jones, son of my eldest son Nath. Jones one bond from Ffrancis Smith of Hatfield Regis ato Broadoake in the Country of Essex yeoman bearing date the thirteenth of June last past made for the payment of one hundred and five pounds as therein(?) mentioned which said bond order and ________ shall be delivered to him the said Ffrancis Jones, my Grandson at such time as he shall attain to his full age of one and twenty years to and for his sole benefit.

Item.     I give and bequeath unto Mary Jones my Grandaughter, daughter of my son Nathaniel Jones by Elizabeth his first wife the ________ or Chest of Drawers standing in my bed chamber together with all the linen, plate and other things that shall be in it at the time of my death/demise(?) to be delivered to her within one month next after my demise(?).

Item.     I give and bequeath unto Mary Jones my Grandaughter the sum of two hundred pounds of good and lawful money of Great Britain by my Executors ____________ at such a time that she shall attain to her full age of one and twenty years but if it shall happen that my said Grandaughter Mary Jones shall dye and depart this life before she shall attain to the said age of one and twenty years that turn my mind and will and I do hereby give the said sum of two hundred pounds unto such and amongst all other my Grandchildren that shall then be living to be equally divided amongst them share and share alike.

Item.     I give and bequeath unto the said Nathaniel Jones, my eldest son for an during the term of his natural life all and every my Ffreeholds and Copyholds, lands, houses, tenements and harditamonta (? Accessories/attachments) with all and every of their appurtenances belonging or anywise appertaining to have and to hold all and every my said lands, houses, tenements, harditamonta and their appurtenances unto the said Nathaniel Jones, my son for and during the term of his natural life and from and after his demise(?) I give will and devise all and every my said lands, houses, tenements and harditamonta and premises with all and every of their appurtenances unto my Grandson, Nathaniel Jones, son of my said son Nathaniel Jones and the said Elizabeth his said first wife and to the ffirst(?) of his body lawfully to be begotten forever.

Item.     I give and bequeath unto Hannah Read, my daughter, the sum of one hundred pounds due to me from George Read, her husband as appraro by bond from him given unto me bearing the date April twelfth one thousand seven hundred and ten.

Item.     I give and bequeath unto my Grandaughter Hannah Read, daughter of my said son-in-law George Read, the sum of two hundred pounds like lawful money of Great Britain when she will come to and attain her full age of one and twenty years by my Executor hereby named, but if it shall so happen that the said Hannah Read, my Grandaughter, shall depart this life before her said Legacy shall become due and payable that then my mind, will and meaning is and I do from thenceforth give and bequeath unto the said Hannah Read, my daughter, for and during the term of her natural life, the interest of the said two hundred pounds and payable at four of the most usual ffeasts or days of payment in the year viz St St Michael the Archangel, the nativity of our Lord Christ, the annunciation of the blessed Lady Mary the Virgin and St John the Baptist and from and after the demise of the said Hannah Read, my Daughter, I give and bequeath the principal sum of two hundred pounds unto amongst such other of my Grandchildren that shall then be living equally to be divided amongst them share and share alike.

Item.     I give and bequeath unto my Grandson, Richard Jones, son of late son John Jones the sum of one hundred pounds of lawful money of Great Britain to be paid to him by my Executor hereafter named when he shall attain his full age of one and twenty years and my mind, will and meaning and I do order and direct and appoint my Executors to pay or cause to be paid unto the said Richard Jones, my Grandson, interest for the same at and after the rate of five pounds per Cent per annum(?) until the said sum of one hundred shall become due by the said four equal payments for and towards his education and maintenance, the first payment to commence at any of the feast days aforementioned next coming after my demise provided always my mind will and meaning so that if the said Richard Jones, my Grandson should happen to dye and depart this life before the said Legacy shall become due and payable that my mind and will is and I do hereby give and bequeath said amount of one hundred pounds unto and amongst all and every such other of my Grandchildren as shall be living share and share alike.

Item.     I give and bequeath unto my five Grandchildren, namely Anne Jones, Sarah Jones, Anna Maria Jones, Jemima Jones or Hannah Jones or any other of them shall dye and depart this life before the same become due and payable that then I bequeath the part and share of _____ or them so dying unto the survivor or survivors of them share and share alike.

Item.     I give and bequeath onto my Grandsons, George Jones, Abraham Jones and Benjamin Jones the sum of forty pounds apiece of good and lawful money of Great Britain to be paid severally and several and respective ages of one and twenty years by my Executor hereby named but if any or either of them shall happen to dye and depart this life before his or their Legacy or Legacies shall become due and payable that then I give and bequeath the Legacy or Legacies of him or them so dying onto the survivor or survivors of them, share and share alike.

Item.     I give and bequeath unto the Reverend Mr George __iggot of Bishops Stortford aforesaid the sum of five pounds of lawful money of Great Britain to be paid to him by my Executors within three months next of my demise.

Item.     I give and bequeath unto the Reverend Richard Rawling of Bishops Stortford the like sum of five pounds of like lawful money to be paid to him by my Executors within three months next of my demise.

Item.     I give and bequeath unto my two sisters, Mary Barlow and Sarah Piggot the sum of three pounds apiece of lawful money of Great Britain to be paid to them severally within one month next after my demise by my Executors.

Item.     I give an bequeath unto the poor people of the Parish of Bishops Stortford aforesaid the sum of three pounds of lawful British money to be distributed unto and amongst them the said poor people at the discretion of my Executors within one month next of my demise.

Item.     I give and bequeath unto the said Nathaniel Jones, my son, all and every of my books of what ffaculty kind or nature so ever all the rest and residue of my personal estate viz mortgages, surrendered bonds, bills or _______  or ________ to me for money, money by me or anyway owing unto me from and after my debts L________ and ffuneral charges are paid satisfied and contented, I wholly give and bequeath unto the said Nathaniel Jones, my son, and the said George Read, my son-in-law, to be equally divided between them share and share alike and I do hereby nominate, constitute and appoint the said Nathaniel Jones, my son, and the said George Read, my son-in-law the only Executors of this my Last Will and Testament and I desire them to faithfully perform the same in _______  _________ I have caused this will to be written, contained in three sheets of paper and I have read the same and do declare the same to be according to my mind and to every sheet have set my hand and seal the day and year first above written. Nathaniel Jones, Son, signed, sealed, delivered, published and __________  by the said Nathaniel Jones the Elder for and as his Last Will and Testament in the presence of us and signed by us as witnessed in the presence of the Testator, ____  Joseph _______ Thomas Barnard.'

Your comments/thoughts/criticisms are more than welcome.