Brew, The

Band members               Related acts

Tommy Lozano -- vocals, tambourine

- Mark -- drums, percussion

- John Mekenian -- keyboards, mumbling

- Ronny Reyes -- lead guitar, backing vocals

- Art Sanchez -- bass, backing vocals




- Cannibal and the Headhunters (Ronny Reyes)

- Mark Guerrero & Radio Aztlán (Ronny Reyes)

- The Impalas (Ronny Reyes)

- Old Tyme Religion (Ronny Reyes)

- Rockablooze (Ronny Reyes)

- Yaqui (Ronny Reyes)



Genre: rock

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  A Very Strange Brew

Company: ABC

Catalog: ABCS-672

Year: 1969

Country/State: California

Grade (cover/record): VG / VG

Comments: promo sticker on cover

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 5158

Price: $100.00


Perhaps it has something to do with their Latin heritage, but this one simply doesn't get enthusiastic reviews from the critics ... That's unfortunate since 1969's "A Very Strange Brew" stands as a pretty impressive late-1960s garage/light-psych offering.


In terms of bibliographical information I can't tell you much about this five piece.  Lead guitarist Ronny Reyes apparently cut his musical chops playing in a number of East L.A. bands including The Impalas.  A couple of on-line references indicate they had a link to Columbia's Los Impalas/Impala Syndrome, but as far as I can tell that's misinformation.  Piecing together the liner notes and writing credits, the line up apparently consisted of lead singer Tommy Lozano, drummer Mark (no last name). keyboardist John Mekenian, lead guitarist Reyes, and bass player Art Sanchez.  Their debut LP was recorded at California's American Recording Studio, with Jimmy King producing.  


So what's it actually sound like?  Ignoring the lounge act group cover photo, propelled by Lazano's likeable voice and Makenian's Farfisa organ the album featured a largely original mix of commercial pop ('Three's a Crowd'), blue-eyed soul ('Yesterday's Coming'), Latin rockers ('(Such a) Foggy Day) and an occasional nod to lite-psych ('It Takes a Fool').  Interestingly, while it didn't make for the most original collection you've ever heard, every one of the ten tracks had something going for it, making for one of those albums that became better each time you listened to it. The other highlight was guitarist Reyes.  His isolated solos were always entertaining and impressive.  Personal favorites included the acid-y lead off rocker rock 'It Takes a Fool', 'What Do You See In My Mind' and the nifty rocker 'I Can Hardly Wait To Live'.  (Over the years I've only seen a couple of copies of the album, each with a promo sticker on the cover.) 


"A Very Strange Brew" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) It Takes a Fool   (Tommy Lozano - Art Sanchez - Ronny Reyes) - 4:03

2.) Three's a Crowd   (Lou T. Josie) - 3:00

3.) Crossroads of Life   (J. Ochoa - Ronny Reyes - Art Sanchez) - 2:47

4.) (Such a) Foggy Day     (Tommy Lozano - John Mekenian - Ronny Reyes) - 4:53

5.) If I Were Someone   (Tommy Lozano - John Mekenian) - 3:06


(side 2)
1.) What Do You See In My Mind   (Tommy Lozano - John Mekenian) - 3:22

2.) Union Man   ( John Mekenian - Tommy Lozano) - 2:31

Laughter and Tallking - 0:07

3.) I Can Hardly Wait To Live   (Tommy Lozano - Art Sanchez - Ronny Reyes) - 3:24

4.) Always On My Mind   (Art Sanchez) - 3:54

5.) Yesterday's Coming   (Lou T. Josie) - 2:40

6.) If You Want Me   (J Ochoa - Ronny Reyes - Art Sanchez) - 2:41


Reyes seems to be the only member to have remained active in music. In the early-1970s he recorded an album for Playboy Records as part of the band Yaqui and has toured with a number of bands, including a 1980s version of Cannibal and the Headhunters.






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