This was Trini’s last album during his hit making period or the first album of his non-hit making period.
Trini released more albums on a variety of (minor) labels between 1972 and today but his time as a force on the charts in the US was over.
Check out my other comments for biographical detail on Trini.
Career wise, Lopez started out on the King label released upbeat rock ‘n’ roll 45s, but he made his name with go go beat driven rock n pop in the 60s when he signed with reprise. All his subsequent albums, and there was something like twenty original albums in seven years, apart from this one, were on the Reprise label.
I’m not sure why he left Reprise but I would think he was not a bankable star by 1969 when he released his last album there.
A couple of year’s later Capitol records took a chance on him to release this album.
A Spanish language album.
Though, perhaps, it isn’t a great risk. Lopez always had a big following in Spanish speaking markets and had released a couple of Spanish (and semi Spanish) language albums on Reprise. It was viable and bankable.
I have a basic understanding of Spanish so I have never avoided the music. Though, the argument that you can’t understand the words if they are in a non-English language is a redundant one …
You can’t understand the words in most operas (assuming you don’t speak Italian).
Music can move you without the necessity of you being able to understand the lyric. The vocal performance or the musical virtuosity may excite you. The passion may stimulate the senses. Or, sometimes, just the melody and vibe will keep your toes tapping.
And all that applies to Trini on his Spanish language records. That’s not to say that they are all great but that an understanding of Spanish isn’t needed to enjoy the albums.
It would help but it isn’t required.
The 60s was a big time for foreign language albums, especially in the US. Sure, there are many migrants and their offspring in the US, which probably accounted for most of the target sales, but I suspect some people were buying just because of the vocalist or because of the sound.
Gene Pitney put out an album of songs in Italian and another in Spanish, Connie Francis went a couple better and put our albums in (or partially in) Italian, Jewish, Spanish and German. Hell, even Elvis released songs in the American market in Italian, German and Spanish (check his soundtracks).
For Trini, a American of Latin ancestry, this was no brainer … and he had success before with his Spanish language songs.
Spanish seemed to be the preferred foreign language music of the US. Of course it helped that one quarter of the US was Latin / Hispanic or of Latin ancestry and that much of its south-west had been under Mexico 100 or so years earlier.
Trini, Jose Feliciano, Trio Los Panchos, El Chicano all did well in the 60s and early 70s with Spanish language music.
And it was used in every second western film and TV show.
And it was the street talk and native language in many parts of the US.
Spanish music wasn’t unfamiliar to Caucasian ears.
Trini, here, adds another strand to the music, making it even more relatable to non-Spanish speakers, by singing Spanish language versions of some well-known English language pop hits. As a listener, if you don’t speak Spanish, the melody will be familiar to you so you can tap along to that whilst getting the meaning from the song in the familiar English lyric which has been translated in your head.
Trini’s style was specifically 60s and it is interesting hearing the 70s sounds incorporated. He taps into the jazz, funk, Latino (Chicano) and the general MOR sounds of the early 70s and doesn’t sound like the Trini of old, though he manages to squeeze in some of his trademark oooohii squawks in.
Perhaps, Trini’s time had come and gone but Trini's force of musical personality keeps this more than listenable. This type of Spanish language pop rock would eventually become quite plastic with synths providing the bloodless backing. Here it is still all organic with instruments (and arrangements) up front playing off the singer.
The album didn’t sell nationally.
The cover art is crap.
Tracks (best in italics)
- Vive La Vida Hoy – (Nino Frias) – Spanish rumba duo "Los Amaya Y Su Combo Gitano" released a version in 1971 and salsa man "Frankie Dante & Orquesta Flamboyan Con Larry Harlow" released a version in 1972. Translated this is "Live Life today" … and it is a bouncy toe tapping hoot!
- Y Volvere – (A. Barrier, G. De La Fuente, R.Lopez) – Co-written by Germaín de la Fuente of Chilean pop band “Los Angeles Negros” the song was released on their second album in 1969 and was a big Latin American hit. It is a cover version of "Emporte-moi" by Alain Barrière with new lyrics by De la Fuente. Emotive and effective.
- Canta – (Sing) – (Joe Raposo) – A song from and sung often in the kids TV show Sesame Street. The Carpenters subsequently had a hit with this (#3 1973). Who doesn't know this? Enjoyable. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sing_(Joe_Raposo_song)
- Tu Amigo Fiel – (You've Got A Friend) – (C. King, B.M. McCluskey) – It was first recorded by Carole King on her album, Tapestry (1971), though James Taylor had the hit with it in 1971 (#1US, #4UK). Well sung. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/You%27ve_Got_a_Friend
- Montana Rubi – (Ruby Mountain) – (Kenny Young) – Songwriter, musician, record producer (and environmentalist) Young recorded and released this as a single in 1970 as "Shine On Ruby Mountain" as did the Hondells. Kenny Rogers & The First Edition also released it as an album track in 1970. A good bass line beat keeps this pumping along.
- Viva! – (Viva Tirado) – (Gerald Wilson, Norman Gimbel) – The song Viva Tirado was written by Norman Gimbel and was first released by The 5th Dimension in 1971. It was adapted from the instrumental Viva Tirado recorded by The Gerald Wilson Band in 1962. Catchy.
- Sol De Mi Vida – (Bring Back My Sunshine) – (Jim Weatherly) – Written by country singer-songwriter Jim Weatherly. He eventually released it on his self-titled album in 1973. This is an early version of the song. It could be a Trini first. Really, quite good.
- Jesus Cristo – (Carlos, Carlos, Singleton) – released by “Al De Lory and Mandango” and by “Alan Shelly With Equator” in 1971 in the same year. A quite funky song about Jesus Christ.
Siempre Le Sigo – (All That Keeps Me Going) – (Jim Weatherly) – Another one by country singer-songwriter Jim Weatherly. He eventually released it on his album "Weatherly" in 1972.It could be a Trini first.
MORcountry Spanish style.
- Mi Mami Blue – (Mammy Blue) – (Hubert Giraud-Phil Trim) – a French song released in 1970, which was given English lyrics in 1971 and was a hit for the Pop-Tops (US#57, Japan#2), Joël Daydé and Roger Whittaker (UK#31). Very catchy though it always reminds me of The Benny Hill Show where it was used on some skits (at least I think it was ..
- .if it wasn't something similar was) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mamy_Blue
Very enjoyable. A little gem even … I'm keeping it.
Nada no donde .. Nothing no where
Vive La Vida Hoy
Viva! (Viva Tirado)
Mi Mami Blue
- Produced by Stan Silverberg. Arranged by Larry Muhoberac.
- Larry Muhoberac grew up in Louisiana and moved to Memphis, in 1959. He has worked with Elvis Presley, Neil Diamond, Tina Turner, Ray Charles, Tanya Tucker, Ray Conniff.