HIBBING (AP) -- When Larry Fabbro mail ordered a guitar from Sears, Roebuck and Co., the teen-ager never dreamed it would become an artifact of rock 'n' roll history.

But nearly a half century after he bought it, Fabbro donated his prized guitar -- which he played in one of Bob Dylan's first bands -- to the Hibbing Public Library's collection of Dylan memorabilia last week.

"Bob is a musical genius, and Hibbing needs to recognize that like the rest of the world has," said Fabbro, a native of this northeastern Minnesota city where Dylan grew up.

"This is truly unbelievable," said Roberta Maki, the library worker and Dylan fan who spearheads the preservation effort.

Fabbro, who now lives in Ojai, Calif., forged a relationship with Hibbing's most famous son when he lived across the street from a boy then known as Bobby Zimmerman. Although distant, he can recall playing together at the age of 6.

Years later, the two sophomores at Hibbing High School joined forces with classmates Bill Marinac and Chuck Nara to create something that had yet to hit the Iron Range -- rock 'n' roll. Nara played drums, Marinac the acoustic stand-up bass and Fabbro his Silvertone "f-hole" acoustic guitar.

"We would go to Bob's house after school and practice in the living room," recalled Fabbro. "He would play the piano and imitate how Little Richard would play."

They entered the school's talent contest under the name "Cashmeres."

"We didn't have a name that I knew of," Fabbro said. "What I suspect is that they asked for a name and Bob made it up."

On April 5, 1957, the Cashmeres took to the school stage and performed "Jenny, Jenny, Jenny," and "True Fire Mama" in true Little Richard-style. They sported pink shirts, had their hair slicked back and wore sunglasses.

"We basically played backup for Bob," Fabbro recalled. "He told us how and showed us what to do. He was our teacher."

An animated Zimmerman banged the notes out on the piano and sang loud and clear into his microphone. The audience was stunned.

"Their initial reaction was one of shock," said Fabbro. "Bob was singing really loud. He was a relatively quiet guy and most of the audience had known him as such since first grade. They were shocked not only at the music but at Bob."

Audience reaction didn't cease there.

"It went from shock to laughter and then some booing, which I think was quieted down by the teachers at that time," he said. "We didn't expect that type of reaction. We were talked about quite a bit after that."

The Cashmeres repeated their performance that night for the community. The 14 other acts in the show included tap dancing, magicians, an accordion player and dramatic readings.

The band also auditioned for a junior college stage show but wasn't chosen. A few months later, the foursome broke up. Zimmerman later became part of another local teen band, the Golden Chords, and went on to fame a few years later as Bob Dylan.

Fabbro recently decided it was time his small piece of Dylan history became part of the local collection, something he hopes becomes part of a museum eventually.

"I've always been disappointed in the local response to Dylan," Fabbro said.