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Leave me alone

Sixties garage gems from my imaginary collection.

No. 1   Jimmy C. and the Chelsea Five, ‘Leave Me Alone’.

I’ve long been into the style of music known as sixties garage (or sixties punk, garage punk etc.). And while I don’t want to enter into a detailed discussion about exactly what makes garage, garage—there are plenty out there who’ve already done that better than I ever could—I will, for those unfamiliar with the genre, give a few pointers.

An archetypal garage band would be active in suburban America between 1965 and 1968. It would be made up of a bunch of teenagers who’d been blown away by the so-called ‘British Invasion’ of the preceding years and had decided they wanted a piece of the action themselves. The band would rehearse in mom and dad’s garage (whence the name) play a few high school hops and, if they were lucky, cut a single on an obscure local label. Then they’d split up and disappear forever.

And that was that. Or at least it was until 1972, when Lenny Kaye released his classic compilation Nuggets: Original Artefacts from the First Psychedelic Era 1965–1968. Although it could be argued that many of his

The London Look. The Chelsea Five's single lovingly re-issued on 13 o' Clock Records

selections are not strictly 'garage,' the seminal influence of Nuggets cannot be overstated. It was the first time anyone had revisited this virtually forgotten style of music and it helped spark a revival in interest that has kept growing ever since.


My first selection, Leave Me Alone by Dallas group Jimmy C and the Chelsea Five, was the flip side of their only single, a decent version of the old standard Play with Fire. The tracks were recorded in May 1967 and came out on Austin label Zero Records. Zero had previously released a couple of 45s by local group The Spades, who evolved shortly afterwards into psych legends The Thirteenth Floor Elevators. For more on the Chelsea Five (and hundreds of other garage bands) check out the excellent site Garage Hangover.

Click on the Dansette to listen

to Leave Me Alone


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