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Chelsea - In Session album review

London punks’ radio recordings and live set

Cover art for Chelsea - In Session album

The history of music, like everything else, is written by the winners. So maybe that’s why Chelsea’s role in the London punk explosion has been decidedly under-represented. They were undoubtedly leading lights in the summer of punk, and a spunky string of singles suggested their debut album would be a belter.

Sure enough, it was pretty tidy, but it didn’t come out on Step-Forward until June 1979, by which time they’d ditched some of their best early material.

The radio sessions here are in many cases just as good as the single versions, even if some start to veer into shouty, sloganeering Sham 69 territory on later tracks.

This is an essential listen for anyone delving into punk history, but completists beware: this is exactly the same CD that was released in 2001 on Captain Oi as The BBC Punk Sessions. We know this not just because of the identical track listing, but when you put it into a computer disc drive, it comes up under the previous title.

There are some differences though – a different cover, some mildly diverting sleeve notes from guitarist James Stevenson, and the sleeve also lists a curious new track called Come One. Only it’s not a new track – it’s another version of Come On, featured four tracks later, but misspelt. Punk rock, or what?

(810 for the music, 310 for the packaging.)