Trini Lopez – The Rare Reprise Singles (1962-1970)
Opening with the wonderful West Side Story Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim song “America,” Trini performs it with brilliance. Trini Lopez didn’t happen overnight. He had songs released as early as 1958 but no chart action until 1963. His 1963 release “Let It Be Known,” & 1970’s “Let’s Think About Livin’” show how Lopez maintained his style with consistency.
The Dallas, Texas-born Trinidad Lopez became popular because he had an original approach to pop songs that were lightly Latinized by his banquet of sound & signature voice. If you sing/speak & smile at the same time your joy comes through your voice. Trini Lopez smiled when he sang.
He was an instantly likable artist & personality. Ask Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, or The Beatles. Trini was often one of the celebrities in an Elvis Presley touch football game with Ricky Nelson, Johnny Rivers, & Max Baer Jr.
Trini’s career began in LA clubs. Frank Sinatra’s producer Don Costa (on staff at Sinatra’s Reprise label) heard Trini & brought him to the label. That resulted in a Billboard #2 LP “Trini Live at PJ’s” & a chart hit with Pete Seeger’s “If I Had a Hammer.”
Omnivore under license from Warner Records has brought 24 lesser-known sparklers from the Reprise years to CD. The lovely Spanish-sung ballad (“Regresa a Mi” – “Return To Me”), a familiar 60s melody is on The Rare Reprise Singles (1962-1970) available Dec. 3. Many numbers appear for the first time: rare A & B sides from 45s, 2 Christmas songs & chart misses.
As a baby-boomer, I recall Trini’s forays into the charts & he could rock too. Though songs here didn’t chart high each has something to recommend it. “Bramble Bush,” is from the classic film “The Dirty Dozen,” with Lee Marvin who made sure the “prisoner got strings for his guitar.” Trini was one of the 12 dirty dozen inmates.
Exquisite Trini vocals come sweet on “Pretty Little Girl,” where, with studio orchestration Lopez is excellent. He cruises over the words. He’s an exemplary vocalist on songs such as this. But drenching Lopez in strings may not have been to his fan base’s liking. Liberty Records did the same to Timi Yuro.
After the strings of “Pretty Little Girl,” the next song is arranged with a slight Herb Alpert-type trumpet in the overproduced strings of “Up To Now,” an otherwise wonderfully upbeat should-have-been-a-hit tune. Then there’s the charm & well-sung Randy Newman composition “Love Story,” Trini at his best.
Lopez has written his own songs & sings songs by Nino Tempo, Bacharach-David, Johnny Cymbal, Teddy Randazzo, & Paul Anka. His diversification, choice of material was always far-reaching. A 12-page stitched insert’s included with excellent pictures & information. The late Trini Lopez was one of the best. Believe me. He had class. Without a doubt a legendary performer.
B&W image by Hugo van Gelderen/Anefo 1963 – Schiphol Airport, Amsterdam. Color image with guitar by Peter Bischoff/Getty Images. Over an hour & produced by Brad Rosenberger & Bob Furmanek. Available @ https://omnivorerecordings.com/shop/rare-reprise-singles/