Trini Lopez's 'The Rare Reprise Singles'

Article Contributed by conqueroo | Published on Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Trinidad López III was born in Dallas, Texas on May 15, 1937, and at the tender age of 15 formed his first band, the Big Beats. Lopez played guitar; his repertoire consisted of Mexican folk songs, rhythm and blues hits and rock ’n’ roll favorites. The Big Beats played the local clubs, where Lopez met Buddy Holly. Holly referred him to his producer, Norman Petty, who helped the Big Beats and Trini get their first record deal, with Columbia Records. Unfortunately, Petty wanted them to be an instrumental outfit. Trini was not interested in that style of music and soon left the band. He then cut some solo sides for Volk and King Records. But by 1962 he was without a label and started playing clubs in Los Angeles.

Living and playing in L.A., Lopez developed a considerable following. Soon he established a residency at one club in particular, PJ’s, in West Hollywood. Record man Don Costa, who worked for Frank Sinatra’s new label, Reprise Records, brought the boss to one of Lopez’s shows one night. And soon thereafter, Lopez was signed to Reprise and released his first album, Trini Lopez at PJ’s. The album reached #2 on the Billboard album charts and Trini’s live cover of Pete Seeger’s “If I Had a Hammer” soon went gold, notching #3 on the Billboard Hot 100. His output with Reprise was plentiful: 20 albums from 1963–1969 established Lopez as one of the first Latin acts to cross over to the pop charts. But the long player wasn’t the only place one could hear new Trini Lopez music, as he released several non-LP A- and B- sides throughout the years.

Omnivore Recordings is proud to announce the release of The Rare Reprise Singles, a 24-track compilation that amasses most of the non-LP tracks that Lopez would record for Reprise from 1962–1970. Hear many of these songs for the first time on CD, including the studio version of “A-Me-Ri-Ca,” “The Bramble Bush” (from the MGM production The Dirty Dozen in which Trini starred) and a cover of Randy Newman’s “Love Story,” produced by Bob Gaudio of the Four Seasons.

With liner notes from former Warner Bros. scribe Gene Sculatti, photos and ephemera from Trini’s career with Reprise, this is the ultimate Trini Lopez rarities collection.

From Sculatti’s notes: “Trini’s post-Reprise period took him to a variety of labels where he continued to put out singles through the early ’90s. But he never experienced the artistic nor commercial success he enjoyed at Reprise. As those first hits about a tart fruit and carpenter’s tool and this compilation prove, his lively, affable recording remain an indelible signature of that most vibrant of pop music epochs.”

Lopez died from COVID-19 complications in his final home of Palm Springs, Calif. in August 2020.
Track list
1. A-Mer-I-Ca
2. Let It Be Known
3. I’ve Lost My Love for You
4. Regresa a Mi (Return to Me)
5. Mi Felicidad (Little Miss Happiness)
6. Made in Paris
7. Pretty Little Girl
8. Up to Now
9. The Bramble Bush
10. The Ballad of the Dirty Dozen
11. Together
12. Master Jack
13. Malagueña Salerosa
14. Something Tells Me
15. El Niño Del Tambor (The Little Drummer Boy)
16. Noche De Paz (Silent Night) / Let There Be Peace
17. Love Story
18. Five O’Clock World
19. You Make My Day
20. Time to Get It Together
21. Mexican Medicine Man
22. Su-Kal-De-Don
23. There Was a Crooked Man
24. Let’s Think About Living
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