Various Artists

Come Back Bird: The Abilene Teen Scene 1964-1967

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There were vigorous garage band scenes all over the U.S. in the mid-'60s as young musicians, inspired by the British Invasion sounds of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds, the Who, and the Kinks, picked up electric guitars and had at it, usually resulting in music that was more about attitude and approximation than it was about originality or skill. Abilene, TX had such a scene, and this fun set collects four of the region’s most popular garage outfits, the Chevelle V, the Livin' End, the Continentals, and the Coachmen. Of course, being Texas, there was also a lot of Buddy Holly bubbling under these bands’ singles, too. Highlights here include the Chevelle V's “Come Back Bird” (there are three versions of it collected here, of which the original single version is the best) and their version of the surf classic “Koko Joe”; the Livin' End's sizzling takes on “Roadrunner,” “All Alone” (essentially “I’m a Man” with different lyrics), “My Destination” (a fuzzed out near-cousin to the Beatles' “Day Tripper”), and the Who-like “Makin' Time”; and the Coachmen's reverb-soaked “Hush Broken Heart” (take away the-reverb-goes-to-11 sonic veneer and it’s really a country song). Nothing here is much different than the garage sounds happening elsewhere in the country at the time, and nothing here rewrote the history of pop and rock, but it’s fun all the same, a bit like stepping into a time machine.

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