:: If I Had A Hammer ::
Everyone knows "If I Had A Hammer", right? I certainly came from a generation that knew that song, performed by numerous folky types in the 60s. I guess I was too young to remember who had a really big hit with it though.
Growing up I'd see records by Trini Lopez, but I never knew what he was all about. I just figured he did not rock, so I never bothered to check him out. But now that I'm buying just about anything that inexplicably triggers my "I must own this record" synapse, I now own "Live At P.J.'s", and when I put it on I got a big surprise.
I immediately recognized "Hammer" as THE hit version of the song from 1963. I was like 6 years old, and I loved it, I just never knew who it was, or maybe I just forgot. It's one of those songs that was a "crossover" hit - probably big on both top 40, and adult contemporary stations, yet for some reason it doesn't get played on oldies radio today, at least not around these parts. So when I played it, it was the first time I'd heard it in probably about 40 years. Funny how songs can remind you of odd things. This one reminds me of cheeseburgers sizzling on the backyard grill in the summertime. Mmmm, cheeseburgers!
Texas native Lopez recorded for the King label prior to being discovered by arranger Don Costa, who had Frank Sinatra's ear at the upstart Reprise label. It didn't hurt that Frank's buddy Dino took a shine to this Latin folky as well. Some credit Trini with helping to jump start the Folk/Rock movement of the mid-60s, but that's arguable. What isn't is that this kid swings, and he's got style. I guess I'm going to have to check further into the Lopez catalog now. Good music to listen to while grilling cheeseburgers in the backyard in the summer time...