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

Saturday 27 July 2019

Olympia Theatre Dublin 1st March 2019

And here is another gem from the Irish leg of the 'Back on the Tracks' tour. Very many thanks for sharing!!


01. Intro
02. Tank
03. I’ve Been Wild
04. Get A Grip On Yourself
05. Baroque Bordello
06. Bring On The Nubiles
07. Peaches (False Start)
08. Uptown
09. Peaches
10. Man On The Moon
11. Duchess
12. Unbroken
13. Princess Of The Streets
14. Ice Queen
15. Skin Deep
16. Golden Brown
17. Always The Sun
18. This Song Will Get Me Over You
19. Relentless
20. Death And Night And Blood
21. Water
22. Goodbye Toulouse
23. Hey! (Rise Of The Robots)
24. Hanging Around
25. No More Heroes
26. Walk On By
27. Outro

A band's eye view from the Olympia stage.

Friday 19 July 2019

A Small Act of Remembrance - Normandy 2019

Two weeks ago it was my good fortune to be able to travel to Normandy with members of the 59th (Staffordshire) Division Association on a pilgrimage of Remembrance that formed part of the 75th anniversary commemorations of the D-Day landings.

My Grandfather, Jim Heath, was born in Silverdale, Newcastle-under-Lyme in September 1914. Although he left The Potteries in 1936 to join his older brothers who had found labouring work in Burgess Hill, West Sussex, soon after war came he travelled to Brighton to enlist. In January 1940 he joined the North Staffordshire Territorials and received instruction to report to Lichfield Infantry Training Centre where upon completion of his basic training he was transferred to ‘A’ Company of the 5th Battalion South Staffordshire Regiment. It was with the South Staffords, as part of 59th Division, that he sailed to Normandy as a follow-up Division in the third week of June 1944.

In our small travelling party were close family members (sons and nieces) laying wreaths at the graves of their relatives. But, my Grandfather came back. Nevertheless, I wanted an act of Remembrance of my own. With hundreds or even thousands of graves in each of the three British War Cemeteries that we visited I did some homework to find someone in each with whom I could say that there was a connection with my Grandfather (be it home town or fighting unit or as in this case). Some basic research on the Commonwealth War Grave Commission website threw up some worthy candidates. I picked one Private William Edwin Robinson, like my Grandfather a soldier of the 5th Battalion and of a similar age, separated by 12 months or so (in relative terms at 30 and 31 they were old within their ranks).

On 7th July 1944, the newly arrived troops of the 5th South Staffs looked on from their forming up positions directly north of Caen as Bomber Command sent in wave upon wave of Halifax and Lancaster bombers (467 aircraft all told) over the northern perimeter of the Norman capital. They dropped a combined payload of 2,560 tons of high explosive, incendiary and delayed action bombs. This action was controversial and still triggers passionate debate despite the passage of 75 years. The issue was that Bomber Command insisted upon a 6,000 yard distant safety margin forward of the British line. However, such was the close proximity of the two opposing forces that the raid only served to damage areas behind the German defences and the result was that the bombing gained very little strategic advantage. At best it provided a morale boost to the newly arrived Staffords about to experience combat for the first time.

The 5th South Staffs (of 177 Brigade) were to be held in reserve in front of the fortified village of Cambes-en-Plaine with a view to exploit any gains of 197 Brigade opposite Galmanche and 176 Brigade facing La Bijude, La Londe and Epron.

The 5th first went into action on the afternoon of the 8th July with an attack on the Chateau of Galmanche. In a baptism of blood and fire the 5th Battalion and the 2/6th Battalion suffered heavy losses. Private Robinson’s ‘D’ Company launched a further attack on the Chateau in the half light of evening but were forced to withdraw. A regrouped ‘D’ Company would renew the assault on the 9th.

The fighting on the 9th and 10th July* in which ‘D’ Company of the 5th Battalion were engaged is described within the Battalions War Diary. Where military abbreviations have been used I have added the meaning in brackets for ease of reading.

‘At 1915 hrs 9 July, orders were received for the Coy (Company) attack to be put in on GALMANCHE, an enemy stronghold which the 2/6 S. STAFFORDS had not been able to capture. A recce (reconnaissance) was carried out and a plan was made. A troop of tanks was given to the Coy to support this attack.

The Coy was brought up from the assembly positions and the attack was timed to go in at 2045 hrs. At 2040 hrs the tanks were withdrawn from the Coy, as they had to go and rejoin their Regt. As arranged the attack went in, 16 Pl (Platoon) right, followed by 17 Pl who were detailed to carry out the thorough clearing of the buildings. The final objective was a row of trees some 400 yards from the start line.

The Coy advanced about 200 yards before it was opened up on by 6 or 8 M.G.s (machine guns) firing from either flank – the fire from these M.G.s was held until such time as the nearest M.G.s were firing almost into the rear of the Coy, thereby hemming them in. The enemy M.G.s fire was so fierce, that it was impossible for the Coy to advance further., although some men from 16 Pl actually reached the objective – they were however so few in numbers that they were unable to hold it.

17 and 18 Pls made desperate efforts to enter and clear the buildings, and under the leadership of Lieut L.A Stilling and Lieut T.H. Dando they succeeded in killing several Germans. Fierce fighting continued in the area of the buildings and adjoining orchard, until the enemy fire made it necessary for both the Pls to be withdrawn to the line of the hedgerow some 50 yards from the main buildings. Meantime the remainder of 16 Pl and Coy HQ were pinned to the ground by strong enemy fire from the left and from M.G.s sited in the upper rooms of the house. As it was by this time impossible to advance further, the only alternative was to remain under cover till dark, when it would be possible to withdraw the Coy. At approx. 2315 hrs the Coy was withdrawn, after having been more or less under continual heavy fire for almost 2 ½ hours.

During the clearing of the house excellent leadership was shown by 3770737 Pte (Private) Robinson, who after destroying an enemy M.G. continued to organise parties of men to try and clear the house. The Coy having been withdrawn, it was found that 5 men had been killed and 16 wounded, Lieut L.E. Hall, Comdr (Commander) 16 Pl had also been wounded.

During the night the Coy was reorganised and preparations were made for a further attack the following morning, this time two troops of tanks and on troop of AVREs (Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers) were in support.

The attack was starting at 1015 hrs and right away the tanks almost completely destroyed the buildings – the Coy advanced with 17 Pl left, 18 Pl right and 16 Pl following 18 Pl to carry out the clearing of the buildings. On this occasion the attack was successful, the objective taken and held until orders were received to rejoin the Battalion. One man was wounded’.

*As one would expect the account included the above quoted Appendix tallies with the information in the body of the War Diary itself in all but one detail. The Annex states that the fighting took place over the 9th to 10th when in fact the battle was fought over the 8th and 9th July, with the 10th occupied by weapons and equipment salvage and burial of the dead.

An aerial reconnaissance photograph of the Chateau and its grounds exists. It is clear even to the non-expert eye the extensive efforts that the SS had made in an attempt to make this stronghold impregnable.

The fortified village of Galmanche ahead of the 59th Division attack.

Today, Galmanche is a remote hamlet. The Chateau has been rebuilt, albeit on a more modest scale. The uninformed visitor would hardly know that anything had happened during the war in this place. Even to those in the know the clues are subtle. If approaching the new building along its extensive drive two of the outer walls of the original Chateau can be seen. Close examination reveals a great many pock marks left by bullets and scars gouged into the masonry by shells. At the top of the driveway almost hidden from view is a memorial to the men of the 59th who gave their lives in the struggle to capture Galmanche.

The battle scarred outer wall of the original Chateau that was destroyed on 9th July 1944.

The memorial to the 59th at Galmanche
(one of the hardest momuments to find in the whole of Normandy).

Our Private Robinson survived the battle and for his leadership of men on 8th July he received the Military Medal.

The citation reads as follows:

‘Pte Robinson took part in “D” Coy attack on the strong enemy posn (position) of GALMANCHE on the evening of 8th Jul 44. His Pl was detailed to clear buildings in which were several enemy machine guns. Several of his section were either killed or wounded, but in the face of heavy enemy fire, Pte Robinson went forward alone with a Bren gun and destroyed one enemy post. He then re-organised his section and continued the attack. Throughout the attack his gallant actions and powers of leadership were an inspiration to his comrades.’

The citation is signed by B.L. Montgomery Commander-in-Chief, 21 Army Group.

The recommendation for the award was initiated on 12th July; just four days after the events took place. However, the passage of the recommendation up the established chain of command was slow such that by the time that Monty added his signature, then Corporal Robinson’s war was over. The Military Medal was awarded posthumously on 19th October 1944.

Corporal William Edwin Robinson was killed on 9th August 1944. He was 31 years old. At that time 176 Brigade had forced a crossing over the River Orne to form a bridgehead opposite the Forêt de Grimbosq. At the same time the 5th battalion with 177 brigade were further to the south fighting for the successive ridges of high ground that approached the river and overlooked the town of Thury Harcourt. It is likely that he fell in this fighting that aimed to hold up German troops and armour and prevent them from turning their attention on the fragile bridgehead at Grimbosq.

In the oppressive heat (37°C in Bayeux) that scorched France on the weekend of our visit, I located the plot and placed a Royal British Legion cross at the grave.

William was son of Emily Duncalf and husband of Annie Robinson, both of Liverpool. His grave bears the inscription ‘A Foreign Grave is a Painful Thing Where Loving Hands No Flowers Can Bring ’.

‘When you go Home, tell them of us and say, For your Tomorrow, we gave our Today’.

Monday 15 July 2019

Cheese and Grain Frome 14th July 2007

Here's a summer gig from cider soaked Somerset. The Stranglers at the Cheese and Grain in Frome. As I recall this was the occasion when Mully's accent triggered a bomb scare in the town. He was only asking for a pint and the barmaid took it to be a coded warning!



01. Intro/Toiler On The Sea
02. (Get A) Grip (On Yourself)
03. Spectre Of Love
04. Nice 'N' Sleazy
05. Strange Little Girl
06. Unbroken
07. Peaches
08. Always The Sun
09. Golden Brown
10. I Hate You
11. Lost Control

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

Sunday 7 July 2019

Ulster Hall Belfast 28th February 2019

The good news is that the appeal for 'Back On The Tracks' 2019 gigs has produced results! Sincere thanks to the taper for passing on gigs for the the site! First up is a great sounding recording from Belfast's iconic Ulster Hall..... Dublin will be next up. Enjoy!



01. Bitching
02. Ive Been Wild
03. Get A Grip On Yourself
04. Baroque Bordello
05. Bring On The Nubiles
06. Uptown
07. Peaches
08. Man On the Moon
09. Duchess
10. Unbroken
11. Princess Of The Street
12. Skin Deep
13. Always The Sun
14. Golden Brown
15. Ice Queen
16. This Song Will Get Me Over You
17. Relentless
18. Death And Night And Blood
19. Water
20. Goodbye Toulouse
21. Hey Rise Of The Robots
22. Hanging Around
23. No More Heroes
24  Walk On By
25  Outro

Saturday 6 July 2019

The Apollo Glasgow 28th May 1978

Find of the year! Very, very occasionally something special crops up.... a missing link in the audio history of our chosen band.... and this is just one such occasion. My mate Dom P brought this to my attention this evening. Not much ever emerged from the band's gigs in 1978, arguably their most punk years (in sound and belligerence in attitude to all you stood in their way or posed a perceived threat to the band). Couple that with the release of an album that many consider to be their finest and statement on vinyl. We now have the finest document of the initial 'Black & White' tour!

With sincere thanks to DomP and the guys at Rescued Recordings from the Glasgow Apollo!



01. Something Better Change
02. Down In The Sewer
03. Peasant In The Big Shitty
04. Princess Of The Streets
05. Dead Ringer
06. Hanging Around
07. Sometimes
08. Ugly
09. I Feel Like A Wog
10. London Lady
11. Go Buddy Go
12. Curfew
13. Tank
14. Outside Tokyo
15. Nice ‘N’ Sleazy
16. Threatened
17. Do You Wanna?
18. Death And Night And Blood
19. Sweden
20. Toiler On The Sea
21. 5 Minutes
22. No More Heroes