Lyres – Live At the Rat 1980 – New LP
Another essential Boston underground outfit!
Recorded At – The Rat, Boston
- Bass – Michael Lewis*
- Design [Sleeve] – Fake Booij
- Drums – Howie Ferguson*
- Guitar – Peter Greenberg
- Photography By [Back Cover] – Patrick Noe
- Photography By [Front Cover] – Kate Patten
- Recorded By – Erik Lindgren (2)
- Vocals, Keyboards – Jeff Conolly
Formed in 1979, Lyres unearthed the 1960s underground — the relentless, maxed-out garage bands that came on like kamikazes — and filtered that sound through the streetwise punk era. Conolly was one of rock ‘n’ roll’s real wild men, a magnetic, soulful singer with one hand on the keys of his vintage Vox Continental organ and the other banging his thigh black-and-blue with a tambourine.
The musicians who played the Rat show made up a classic Lyres lineup: the “Help You Ann” Lyres, as Conolly calls them, in reference to the band’s best-known song. There were two of Conolly’s former band mates in DMZ, bassist Michael Lewis and guitarist Peter Greenberg, as well as drummer Howie Ferguson of the Real Kids. Greenberg later helped form Barrence Whitfield and the Savages.
The “Live at the Rat” album is a product of Crypt Records, the punk-and-reissues label run by Tim Warren — “the ultimate fan,” Lewis says — out of Germany. It opens with “Mighty Idy,” which was also the first track on DMZ’s debut. The setlist includes “Long Gone,” the signature song of Greenberg’s short-lived, late-’70s Cincinnati band the Customs; covers of “Louie Louie” and the Supremes; and a one-two punch of Lyres haymakers “How Do You Know” and “Don’t Give It Up Now.”
The recording was provided by longtime Boston musician and impresario Erik Lindgren, who taped the show on a reel-to-reel machine, with one microphone patched into the soundboard and the other in the back of the room.