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, 30 June 2020

What's In A Name?

'Rattus Norvegicus' release advert
Sounds 30th April 1977

For me, the album that was never bettered. Agreed it is down to personal taste of course.

Rattus..... their most psychedelic?
Black and White.... their most 'punk'?
The Raven..... their creative zenith?
The Gospel According To The Meninblack...... their most avant garde?

I love 'em all but just imagine for a moment that 'Rattus Norvegicus' was forever consigned to the information plaques in the small mammal houses of zoos up and down the country rather than filling the racks of record shops!

'Dead On Arrival' or 'Rattus Norvegicus'?

Both New Musical Express and Record Mirror reported this change in name in their issues of 26th March 1977. A late editorial decision from the band relative to its release date in April!

NME 26th March 1977

Record Mirror 26th March 1977

To think, we could have been robbed of our most beloved critter!

Sunday, 28 June 2020

Attila The Stockbroker Manhatten Club Bradford 7th February 1983

And as promised here is Attila's set. Set-wise it is very similar to the live side of 'Ranting at the Nation' with a couple of additions that were new to me. There are also a couple of tracks in the set that appeared in his John Peel Session that was recorded the following month.

01. Radio Rap
02. Hands Off Our Halibut
03. Gentlemen Of The Wrist
04. Contributory Negligence
05. Nigel Wants To Go To C&A
06. Albanian Football
07. England Are Back
08. Spies And Small Animals
09. Love
10. Et Laxative
11. ‘Commutors’
12. Nigel Wants To Go And See Simple Minds
13. Fifth Column
14. Burn It Down
15. Flapping In The Wind
16. California Uber Alles
17. A Bang And A Wimpy
18. I Don’t Talk To Popstars

Newtown Neurotics Manhatten Club Bradford 7th February 1983

The following two posts are something rather special, for me at least. Two sets from a gig played in Bradford 37 years ago. The Newtown Neurotics and Attila The Stockbroker in a combined offensive (as was and still is so often the case) captured here with excellent sound early on, at around the time of each of their debut albums, 'Beggars Can Be Choosers' and 'Ranting At The Nation' respectively. 1983 was an election year and four months after this gig, Margaret Thatcher was re-elected, retaining control in a landslide victory over Labour, buoyed by success in the South Atlantic the previous summer. 

The new strain of economics was already being felt in Britain's heavy industry sectors in the north. The Neurotics and Attila railed against this lurch to the right and the policies and schemes that did so much to widen the gulf between the rich and the poor in this country. But in February of 1983, the Miner's Strike, perhaps the biggest battle fought by these two acts, along with many other bands of the left, in a very long war was some way in the distance.

The songs speak for themselves.

So here it is for your listening pleasure, across two posts, I give you the authentic sound of Harlow Town 1983!

As a cultural aside, for those with an appreciation of modern British sculpture, The Neurotics are pictured here in the company of 'Harlow Family Group' a 1954-55 commissioned piece by Henry Moore (whose Perry Green residence is very close by to Harlow and Bishops Stortford). It represents the families who were relocated from bomb damaged East London to the newly created Newtown of Harlow and the baby boom that occured in the early post-war years. The spectacles were a later embellishment (probably not by Henry Moore!).

01. Warm Up
02. ‘Tetley Bitter Man’ Story
03. Wake Up
04. Hypocrite
05. Introduction To ‘Does Anyone Know Where The March Is?’
06. Does Anyone Know Where The March Is?
07. Fools
08. Equipment Problems
09. Mindless Violence
10. Agony
11. Newtown People
12. Get Up And Fight
13. The Mess
14. Kick Out The Tories
15. Living With Unemployment
16. Life In Their Hands

Saturday, 27 June 2020

Pfalzbau Ludwigshafen Germany 1st April 1985

Here's a nice sounding recording of the band in Ludwigshafe, Germany.

01. Intro
02. Something Better Change
03. Uptown
04. Dead Ringer
05. No Mercy
06. Souls
07. Nice 'N' Sleazy
08. Skin Deep
09. Let Me Down Easy
10. Midnight Summer Dream
11. European Female

01. Golden Brown
02. Strange Little Girl
03. Peaches
04. Death & Night & Blood
05. Threatened
06. Punch & Judy
07. Hanging Around
08. I Feel Like A Wog
09. Down In The Sewer 
10. Nubiles (Cocktail Version)
11. The Raven

Hugh Cornwell Interviewed on Northsound Radio 16th February 1985

Here is a radio interview with Hugh conducted by a young Nicky Campbell who was then working for Northsound Radio. Since that particular radio station broadcast out of Aberdeen an educated guess for the exact date for the interview would be 16th February 1985 when the band were in town for a date at the Capitol Theatre at the close of the first week of the Aural Sculpture tour. The broadcast was on 23rd February.

Hugh talks about the Rainbow 'Fuck' shirt ban, Nice, intra-band relationships and of course the then new album 'Aural Sculpture'. I did not realise that the band had attempted to bring in Marvin Gaye to produce it just weeks before his untimely demise.

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

20 From '82(10) Stiff Little Fingers Brixton Ace 9th December 1982

I have come to the conclusion so I have that 'Now Then' is a fine album that stands up ably along side SLF's three other angrier first albums (with respect to their first incarnations). It is interesting that at the time that they produced this album of 'softer', introspective songs they were by all accounts knocking seven bells out of each other on the road.

Anyway, they were filmed for the new station Channel 4 at one of their last gigs. I think that it is great.

01. Touch & Go
02. Listen
03. Fly The Flag
04. The Price Of Admission
05. Bits Of Kids
06. Is That What You Fought The War For?

Monday, 22 June 2020

Night Town Rotterdam 22nd June 1991

Here's an anniversary gig from way back.... and as I recall it was the night that young Owen and Jacquie first played tongue tennis, which makes them new to this coupling game in my eyes.

The band seem to be having some issues with people chucking beer at them. Sod that, I have some experience of gigs in the Lowlands and I have to say that after all of the palaver of going to purchase plastic tokens en-route to the bar, the last thing that I would consider would to be launching a hard won beer at a band, no matter how shit they were!

Highlight of this gig is when Paul Roberts prior to 'Sometimes' enquires of the crowd 'Alles gut?' to which one very Dutch voice responds 'Fuck You!'.

MP3 (as received):

01. No More Heroes
02. Threatened
03. Something Better Change
04. Sometimes
05. Never To Look Back
06. Someone Like You
07. Laughing At The Rain
08. Heaven Or Hell
09. Always The Sun
10. 96 Tears
11. Brain Box
12. Uptown
13. Wet Afternoon
14. Mr Big
15. Hanging Around
16. Toiler On The Sea
17. Down In The Sewer
18. All Day And All Of The Night
19. Tank
20. London Lady

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

European TV and Radio Appearances March 2012

Material from a very industrious period from the band back in March 2012 whilst plugging the 'Giants' album in Europe:

A Classic 21 Radio Session (video footage)
'Taratata' French TV Session

On the artwork front I apologise for the spelling error on the spine. However, please accept that I cannot be arsed to redo it eight years down the line!

Sunday, 7 June 2020

Cliffs Pavilion Southend 20th March 1990

Long promised but deep in my messed up filing, the 10 Tour hits the Essex coast!

01. Shah Shah A Go Go
02. I Feel Like A Wog 
03. Straighten Out
04. Shakin' Like A Leaf 
05. 96 Tears 
06. Someone Like You
07. Sweet Smell Of Success 
08. Always The Sun 
09. Strange Little Girl
10. Peaches 
11. Where I Live

01. School Mam 
02. Let's Celebrate 
03. Uptown 
04. Tank
05. Was It You? 
06. Down In The Sewer 
07. No More Heroes
08. (Get A) Grip (On Yourself) 
09. Nuclear Device (The Wizard Of Aus)
10. Duchess 
11. All Day And All Of The Night 
12. Punch And Judy

Hugh Cornwell Totem And Taboo BBC 2 Review Show 9th November 2012

Hugh And Band
'Totem & Taboo' BBC 2 Review Show
9th November 2012

Where does the time go? Was this really 8 years ago? 

Saturday, 6 June 2020

Milton Keynes Bowl 24th August 1991 (Remaster)

A great quality recording broadcast by BBC Radio 1. Thanks as ever to The Rat Zone and Eric.


The Specials Speaks Long Island New York 2nd March 1980

I mentioned that I was putting this one together last night as I went off on one about Trump. The Specials should be invited to play in the Whitehouse Rose Garden and Donald Trump should be tied to a chair right at the front, centre stage.... just so that he doesn't miss anything. In my vision he would be wearing eye specula, in the same manner as A Clockwork Orange's Alex had to do during his aversion therapy, just to ensure that the band have his undivided attention. And then The Specials should hit him full force with the same message that they have been delivering for the past 42 years! Hitting him with anything else as well is permissible at this gig.... if Terry wants to throw tambourines like he was wont to do back in the day, give him a pile of the bloody things!

..... anyway back to reality, here are The Specials on the last night of their first US tour and on this night local girl Debbie Harry is on hand to introduce the band to the stage. Being little over a decade since the Civil Rights struggles of the late '60's, even in cosmopolitan New York, the sight and sound of this multi-racial band with a message of peace, love and unity delivered at the breakneck pace of punk must still have been something of an eye-opener. If the band are knackered after a grueling slog around the US hey certainly hide it well on the night!

Many thanks to Dom P for playing with the sound. Listen to The Specials and fuck Donald Trump!



01. Intro Debbie Harry
02. (Dawning Of A) New Era
03. Do The Dog
04. It's Up To You
05. Monkey Man
06. Rat Race
07. Blank Expression
08. Rude Boys Outta Jail
09. Concrete Jungle
10. Too Hot
11. Doesn't Make It Alright
12. Stupid Marriage
13. Too Much Too Young
14. Guns Of Navarone
15. Little Bitch
16. A Message To You Rudy
17. Night Klub
18. Gangsters
19. Longshot Kick The Bucket
20. Skinhead Moonstomp
21. Madness
22. You're Wondering Now
23. Man From Warrica
24. Monkey Man

Teatro Tenda Bologna 13th April 1985

The band once again taking their brand of Aural Sculpture to the Italians, who let's face it are not strangers to fine music!



01. Something Better Change
02. Uptown
03. Dead Ringer
04. No Mercy
05. Souls
06. Nice 'N' Sleazy
07. Skin Deep
08. Let Me Down Easy
09. Midnight Summer Dream
10. European Female
11. Golden Brown
12. Strange Little Girl
13. Peaches
14. Death and Night and Blood (Yukio)
15. Threatened
16. Punch and Judy
17. Hanging Around
18. I Feel Like a Wog
19. Down in the Sewer
20. Nubiles (Cocktail Version)
21. Toiler on the Sea

"Will no one rid me of this turbulent President?" - King Henry II of England (almost verbatim)

Now look, this is a music website first and foremost and as such you will not find much politics on here. Don't get me wrong I am certainly not apolitical but neither am I an angry late night keyboard political activist. I save that for Newsnight when I can be observed to be shouting and expleting at the television screen like a good 'un. Nevertheless, by the same token I do not subscribe to the train of thought that music and politics do not or should not mix. Music is one of the oldest forms of expression and therefore of protest and dissent. The bands represented on Aural Sculptors are certainly not of a kind to leave a political viewpoint in the venue cloakroom, think, 'Rock Against Racism', 'CND', 'Amnesty International', 'Artists Against Apartheid'.... so many bands on here have nailed their colours to one or other such mast.

This evening as I have prepared another great work up by Dom P of a gig by The Specials in New York on their first US tour in 1980, the most recent bum burp to pass the Narcissist-in-Chief's lips were playing on my mind.

In announcing positive employment figures and linking that to an indicator of greater equality he amazingly brought George Floyd's into the speech with the following words:

"Hopefully George is looking down and saying this is a great thing that's happening for our country. A great day for him. It's a great day for everybody."

George Floyd, killed in  Minneapolis less than two weeks ago by the police, one of whom is charged with second degree murder and three others who are charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter is sure to be doffing his cap to Donald today - why wouldn't he?

The man is dangerous and unhinged.

Thursday, 4 June 2020

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Thanks Ava!

26 years ago today Gunta and I got married, six years after meeting at the SIS Party in 1988 at the Marquee.... the better known one in Wardour Street!

Happy Anniversary - sorry it was a bit shite! If we ever get back into London.... xxx

Wednesday, 3 June 2020

Brighton Music Hall Boston 4th June 2013

Baz Warne
Brighton Music Hall, Boston 4th June 2013

On this day (3rd June) in 2013 Gunta at I were in New York were celebrating on the eve of our 19th Wedding anniversary with the band at the Highline in New York. The following day, the band were in Boston. Here is a partial set from that night.

Throughout the tour Baz set back short situation reports from the front:

MP3 (as received):

01. Goodbye Toulouse
02. Time Was Once On My Side
03. Freedon Is Insane
04. Mercury Rising
05. Peaches
06. Always The Sun
07. Relentless
08. Golden Brown
09. Skin Deep
10. Nice ‘N’ Sleazy
11. Who Wants The World?
12. No More Heroes
13. Hanging Around

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Racism and Intolerance 2020

Stop the World! ...... I wanna get off.

What is happening. Just when the world is dealing with a major global health crisis, the US explodes in the greatest orgy of race related violence since the assassination of Martin Luther King. I have some very good American friends who are level headed, reasonable citizens of the world. I am not anti-American, but I am dead against certain aspects of today's version of the American way of life.

Racial tensions exist in all countries in the world that are blessed with a diverse and multicultural populations (I mean who would want to eat British cuisine every day without fail for life! Not me) and to a greater or lesser extent. Stupid people abound everywhere on this blue planet of ours, but it seems to me that some countries are more capable and dare I say it willing to address the issue of racism than others. In the US, it would appear that the evils of racial segregation and attitudes towards the black community that existed in certain States have never been fully exorcised within elements of the population and more alarmingly in the law enforcement community.

Trump is on the verge of bringing in the Armed Forces to quell the violent protests that are currently raging nightly across the country. To do so, he must invoke the Insurrection Act of 1807, last brought into force in 1992 after civil unrest followed the acquittal of four LAPD officers who were filmed beating up Rodney King. Same old shit...

If the US is ever to live up to the epithet of the 'Greatest Nation in the World' that has been uttered by Presidents, both Democrat and Republican, this issue must be tackled and not by a Commander-in-Chief that pours fuel onto the fire in late night policy statement bursts of the 280 character maximum of Donald J. Trump's Twitter account!

This week the social media has crackled on the subject. Many people have contested that 'Black Lives Matter' is a distraction when the truth is all lives matter and that of course all lives matter, but as I see it in the current situation 'BLM' is a bloody good starting point.

Allow me to share some words on the subject, posted by Terry Hall of The Specials yesterday:

'A pic of me and my mate taken over 40 years ago.. we are still best mates... our love for each other is unbreakable.. we know each other inside out.. we breathe the same air.. we have mutual respect..we only feel love.. people point out a difference.. I am white and he is black.. I've seen the hatred directed towards him because he is black.. he has suffered this for over 60 years.. it breaks my fucking heart.. he has the most beautiful soul on earth ..

I will never really understand what he feels when he's subjected to this hatred.. but I will stand by him and support him until death calls.. We've got to keep trying to change this shit...

So this is step one..
BLACK LIVES MATTER!!!! Love..peace.. later'

Terry Hall

Lynval sums it up best....

'BLM' The Specials
DeMontfort Hall Leicester 24th April 2019

Monday, 1 June 2020

Punk Lives #4

And the nest installment, here.

20 From '82 (9) Action Pact John Peel Session 6th February 1982

An '82 Peel session from the brilliant Action Pact. Never saw then, dunno how I missed them. I do recall buying a copy of 'Mercury Theatre on the Air' in Rounder Records in Burgess Hill. It had been there for yonks. the woman who worked in there would regularly see me pick it up on a weekly basis and perhaps she took pity on me in the end and reduced the price to a level that I could afford!


01. People
02. Cowslick Blues
03. Suicide Bag
04. Losers
05. Mindless Aggression

The Raven UK Trade Advertisement (Music Week 22nd September 1981)

This was a nice discovery today, a full colour trade advertisement announcing the release of The Raven. Different to adverts that appeared in the music press for the public, this add was for the benefit of those in the record retail sector, detailing as it does the availability of the promotional material that was available.

20 From '82(8) Peter and the Test Tube Babies Skunx London 11th April 1982

Leather jacket and docs with red laces.....

Very pleased to receive this donated file (Cheers!!). The Test Tubes were my local band and whilst I did not see them until early 1985 (Sunday lunchtime at the Richmond Hotel for 50p), their debut, the live 'Pissed and Proud' was a very important album for me and my mates at back in 1982. By the time that 'The Mating Sounds of South American Frogs' came out the following year we were all hooked... it is still one of my all-time favourite albums!

The file indicates that this gig was played on 5th April 1982 although the ad seems to indicate that the gig was on Sunday 11th April... who knows.... who cares!

MP3 (as received):


01. Moped Lads
02. Banned From The Pubs
03. Elvis Is Dead
04. Up Yer Bum
05. Run Like Hell
06. Peacehaven Wild Kids
07. Keep Britain Untidy
08. T.Q.G.G.B.J.
09. Intensive Care
10. Transvesite
11. Maniac
12. Leader Of The Gang (I Am)