In The Land Of FREE we still Keep on Rockin'

I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now

Plain and Fancy

Music gives soul to universe, wings to mind, flight to imagination, charm to sadness, and life to everything.

Plato

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Brew - A Very Strange Brew (1969 us, terrific garage psych, 2007 Second Harvest digi pack issue)



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. 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.  

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.


Tracks
1. Intro - 0:16
2. It Takes A Fool (Tommy Lozano, Art Sanchez, Ronny Reyes) - 4:03
3. Three's A Crowd (Lou T. Josie) - 3:00
4. Crossroads Of Life (John Ochoa, Ronny Reyes, Art Sanchez) - 2:47
5. (Such A) Foggy Day (Tommy Lozano, John Mekenian, Ronny Reyes) - 4:53
6. If I Were Someone (Tommy Lozano, John Mekenian) - 3:06
7. What Do You See In My Mind (Tommy Lozano, John Mekenian) - 3:22
8. Union Man (John Mekenian, Tommy Lozano) - 2:31
9. I Can Hardly Wait To Live (Tommy Lozano, Art Sanchez, Ronny Reyes) - 3:24
10.Always On My Mind (Art Sanchez) - 3:54
11.Yesterday's Coming (Lou T. Josie) - 2:40
12.If You Want Me (John Ochoa, Ronny Reyes, Art Sanchez) - 2:41

Brew
*Tommy Lozano - Vocals, Tambourine
*Mark - Drums, Percussion
*John Mekenian - Keyboards, Mumbling
*Ronny Reyes - Lead Guitar, Backing Vocals
*Art Sanchez - Bass, Backing Vocals

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