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'68 Comeback

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Biographie

Not to be confused with the Elvis TV special or Brian Setzer power trio of the same name, '68 Comeback rose from the ashes of Ohio's psychobilly kings, the Gibson Bros., in 1992. Spearheaded by now Memphis-based singer/songwriter/musicologist Jeffrey Evans — who's said to have a shrine to rockabilly great Charlie Feathers in his living room — this stripped-down blues-rock monster roared out of the garage (i.e. Evans' home studio) with a series of well-received singles on In the Red, Sub Pop, Get Hip, and a variety of other independent labels. Aside from Monsieur Evans (as he was now billing himself) on vocals, guitar, and blues harp, the initial lineup included Peggy O'Neill (the Gories) on drums, Darin Lin Wood (the Red Devils) on guitar, Dan Brown (Gloryhole) on bass, and Jack Taylor (Monster Truck Five) on guitar. (Yes, that's right — three guitars.) Evans has claimed that their primary goal was to play live and to as accurately as possible recreate that live sound on record. On the strength of their first two singles, Chantilly Rock (And a Pony's Tail) (Sugar Ditch) and Three Time Loser (Sympathy for the Record Industry), they undertook a 60-day, 42-city U.S. tour. O'Neill was unable to make it, so Greg Cartwright (the Oblivians) took her place on the traps.

Upon completion of the cross-country jaunt, they went straight into the studio and laid down the tracks for their first EP, "Paper Boy Blues" (1993). Their first full-length, Mr. Downchild, followed in 1994. That same year, Sympathy compiled the 45s and the EP (plus a number of alternate takes and unreleased tracks) into the Golden Rogues Collection and continued to release all their full-length recordings. Over the next few years, '68 Comeback issued several more 7"s — including the double-single Someday My Prince Will Come (1996) — and contributed to the soundtrack compilations, The Sore Losers (1997) and Shine On, Sweet Starlet (1998). Their most ambitious release to date, Bridge Too F****n' Far, hit the streets in 1998. The 21-track double-LP was dedicated to guitarist Jack Taylor (born 1965), who had died of a drug overdose the previous year (that's his picture on the cover). It was followed by 1999's Love Always Wins, which consisted primarily of covers and is widely considered their most accessible release.

In the 2000s, Evans released a solo recording (I've Lived a Rich Life) and produced a number of artists, including Tav Falco's Panther Burns, Mr. Airplane Man, and the American Death Ray, at Tillman Audio Research (which also doubles as his living room). He's a charismatic live performer, known as much for his spirited singing and playing as for his entertaining, self-deprecating anecdotes, and eccentric sartorial statements (bowler hats, three-piece suits, etc.). Just as '68 Comeback's lineup has continued to mutate over the past decade — with Evans as its only mainstay — he's also played with other groups, such as Jeffrey Evans' C.C. Riders, the Porch Ghouls, and South Filthy. One way or the other, whether solo, with '68 Comeback, or some other like-minded outfit, it's hard not to imagine Monsieur Evans rocking and rolling on into his golden years just like his hero, Charlie Feathers. ~ Kathleen C. Fennessy, Rovi

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