Saturday, May 31, 2014

Reprise Records: Sinner Man

Every once and a while, a visitor of this blog contributes to the content. Earlier this week, Dennis Harris asked if I would feature Trini Lopez in my look at Reprise Records. Dennis and I go back several decades, as he played guitar in my brother’s band “Memphis Leather.” I even had an opportunity of playing one gig with them at the McKeesport High School in 1980 or so.

To fit into my regular Saturday Bubbling Under, I chose a 1965 Lopez recording that only made it #54 on the charts – “Sinner Man.” One word of caution, this is not the same song as the African-American gospel song that was popularized by The Wailers, Nina Simone, and many, many others.

Lopez co wrote his song with Bobby Weinstein, Bobby Hart, Billy Barberis, and Teddy Randazzo. Lopez’s “Sinner Man” was featured in the motion picture “Marriage on the Rocks” starring Frank Sinatra, Deborah Kerr, and Dean Martin. Lopez appears in the film as well. The song was featured on the movie soundtrack as well as Trini Lopez’s “Greatest Hits” album.

I hadn’t thought about playing any of Lopez’s music this week, but it was a good suggestion. I forgot about his important musical and cultural contribution in the sixties – plus, I loved the shape of his custom made Gibson thin line acoustic electric guitar.

Based on the popular ES335 and the Barney Kessel custom guitar, it had two diamond shaped f-holes, a very pointed double Florentine cutaway, and a Firebird headstock. It was quite a good looker. You can see one here:

The accompanying video takes a moment to get into the song as the videographer shows his jukebox selecting and playing the 45. The audio, however, is great and is in stereo as well.

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