Singer-guitarist Trini Lopez, Texas-born and of Mexican descent, skyrocketed to fame with his 1963 recording of Pete Seeger's "If I Had a Hammer." Lopez's bright and spirited rendition of the protest song went to No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and even eclipsed Peter, Paul, and Mary's Grammy-winning top ten hit of one year earlier. It launched Lopez to a successful career as an all-around entertainer, television and film actor, and prolific recording artist. "If I Had a Hammer" came to disc because producer-arranger Don Costa caught Lopez's act at the West Hollywood nightspot P.J.'s. Costa sensed his potential and brought Reprise Records founder Frank Sinatra to see whether he concurred. The Chairman did, and Lopez was signed to Reprise. He recorded 20 albums for the label through 1969 as well as numerous non-LP sides. On December 3, Omnivore will reissue two dozen of those sides on CD as The Rare Reprise Singles.
The music on The Rare Reprise Singles reflects the diversity of Lopez's sound. He was championed early in his career by Buddy Holly and recorded a couple of 45s with his band The Big Beats under the direction of Holly's producer, Norman Petty. He then pursued solo recording for the King and Volk labels before Don Costa discovered him playing at PJ's. At Reprise, Lopez continued to record a wide range of material including concept albums of love songs, folk classics, rhythm and blues, country, Latin music, and even old-fashioned sing-alongs. Don Costa remained with him for most of his Reprise tenure, with his final albums produced by Snuff Garrett and the team of Tommy Boyce and Bobby Hart.
The Rare Reprise Singles collects Lopez's non-LP sides for the label including the studio version of his rousing take on the Bernstein/Sondheim West Side Story classic "America" (stylized by the artist as "A-Mer-I-Ca"), a Bob Gaudio-helmed single of Randy Newman's wry "Love Story," both sides of a Christmas 45 ("El Niño Del Tambor (The Little Drummer Boy)" b/w "Noche de Paz (Silent Night)"/"Let There Be Peace"), his funky reinvention of The Vogues' "Five O'Clock World," and Paul Anka and Bobby Gosh's groovy "You Make My Day." Other highlights include the movie theme "Made in Paris," one of the most rocking songs Burt Bacharach and Hal David ever wrote, and Frank DeVol and Mack David's "The Bramble Bush" from the 1967 war film The Dirty Dozen. Lopez was one of the titular twelve (No. 10, to be precise) and he also recorded his own tie-in song to the movie. That track, "The Ballad of The Dirty Dozen," is also here.
The collection features liner notes from Gene Sculatti as well as photos and memorabilia images. Trini Lopez died from COVID-19 complications at age 83 in August 2020. As many of his Reprise albums have never been reissued on CD (not to mention subsequent recordings for Capitol, RCA, Roulette, Polydor, and other labels), this is a most welcome surprise and hopefully just the first release from Lopez's discography. The Rare Reprise Singles is due from Omnivore Recordings on December 3. You'll find the track listing and pre-order links below.
Trini Lopez, The Rare Reprise Singles (Omnivore, 2021) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada / Omnivore)
- A-Mer-I-Ca (Reprise R-20, 168, 1963)
- Let It Be Known (Reprise R-20, 1968, 1963)
- I've Lost My Love for You (Reprise 0328, 1964)
- Regresa a Mi (Return to Me) (Reprise 0421, 1965)
- Mi Felicidad (Little Miss Happiness) (Reprise 0421, 1965)
- Made in Paris (Reprise 0435, 1966)
- Pretty Little Girl (Reprise 0435, 1966)
- Up to Now (Reprise 0574, 1967)
- The Bramble Bush (Reprise 0596, 1967)
- The Ballad of the Dirty Dozen (Reprise 0596, 1967)
- Together (Reprise 0618, 1967)
- Master Jack (Reprise 0618, 1967)
- Malagueña Salerosa (Reprise 0770, 1968)
- Something Tells Me (Reprise 0770, 1968)
- El Niño Del Tambor (The Little Drummer Boy) (Reprise 0801, 1968)
- Noche De Paz (Silent Night) / Let There Be Peace (Reprise 0801, 1968)
- Love Story (Reprise 0879, 1969)
- Five O'Clock World (Reprise 0912, 1970)
- You Make My Day (Reprise 0912, 1970)
- Time to Get It Together (Reprise 0933, 1970)
- Mexican Medicine Man (Reprise 0933, 1970)
- Su-Kal-De-Don (Reprise (Turkey) 70704, 1970)
- There Was a Crooked Man (Reprise 0975, 1970)
- Let's Think About Living (Reprise 0975, 1970)
Ricardo Amaral says
He was pretty big in Brazil in the 60s, mostly with If I Had a Hammer and America.
Anthony Parsons says
Wondering if Master Jack is a cover of the same song by Four Jacks & A Jill.
Carlos De Leon says
Yes, it is. It was recently downloaded on U Tube. I happen to have the original version on a 45 rpm ( RCA-VICTOR) of "Master Jack" by Four Jacks & A Jill.
Bob Furmanek says
Thank you Joe, I was friends with Trini for many years and it was an honor to compile this release for Omnivore. There are many hidden gems to be found in this compilation.
Just for the record, this contains all of his non-LP single sides for Reprise. These great lost tracks have been out of print for 50 years!
Joe Chavira says
Hi Frank...Joe Chavira I was Trini’s singing songwriter Amigo till the end. For the first time Trini was so happy to write original songs. We accomplished 50 songs three albums, the theme song of his life, mobths before he passed, a covid song called IF BY NOW and produced The Trini and JOE REALITY SHOW. Lots of Home Videos I have of us recording, writing and touring...and I just sold out Las Vegas and Palm Springs singing the tribute to Trini endorsed by the mayors of both cities. Look at YouTube TRINI LOPEZ JOE CHAVIRA...joechaviramusic.com......It'd be nice to communicate...email@example.com 805-363-8733 Joe Chavira
Thankful we all get to hear the many sides Trini's musical talents=Bravo!
Joe Chavira says
I'm Joe Chavira...Trini's songwriting business partner.
Together we wrote 50 original songs three albums and wrote his theme song life story called " HERE I AM"...also, we wrote a world message song months before he passed called," IF BY NOW". We produced THE TRINI AND JOE REALITY SHOW. Trini was so proud to finally write original music that we accomplished together...look at YouTube " TRINI LOPEZ JOE CHAVIRA NBC " & " TRINI LOPEZ JOE CHAVIRA LIVE"...I would be interested in talking/ collaborating in some manner. I just sold out Las Vegas and Palm Springs a tribute to Trini and endorsed by both Mayors. I'm now World recognized on Google as a solo artist Joe Chavira and along with Trini Lopez Google search voice. We were like Father and son...I was asked by the Lopez family to read the ulogy and sang a powerful balled Trini and I wrote called," HEAVENS EYES ". Look at Google and YouTube...type our names together...lots of material. I have hone videos of Trini and I last days recording, traveling to Sri Lanka concert we performed and much more. joechaviramusic.com ( YouTube type JOE CHAVIRA LAS VEGAS PALM SPRINGS MAYOR) firstname.lastname@example.org 805-363-8733
Oralee walker says
Hello Robert Furmanek
my name is OraLee Walker and I was Trini‘s personal assistant and secretary for 25 years . He appreciated all that you did for him over the years and you were truly a good friend to him and for him. I I I personally enjoyed all of the records you speak of on this new CD and they were terrific.. I know Trini would have appreciated this new CD so all of his fans could enjoy many of the songs they have not heard. Good luck with this CD and where could I purchase one thank you very much. Sincerely Oralee walker person Trini Lopez .
He was a wonderful caring talented and exceptional human being .