R. B. Greaves would have celebrated his birthday this week.
Ronald Bertram Aloysius Greaves III, as he was born, originated from Georgetown, Guyana then moved to U.S when he grew up on a Seminole Indian reservation. He was the nephew of Sam Cooke recorded his biggest hit in 1969. Take a Letter Maria was recorded at the Muscle Shoals Sound Studios in Alabama and talks about a businessman who works long hours and arrives home later one night to discover that his wife had been unfaithful.
The next day at work he dictates a letter for his secretary, Maria, to send to his wife and a copy to his lawyer filing for divorce. The song’s last chorus finds him discussing the situation with Maria and then asking her for date.
The song was producer by the head of Atlantic records, Ahmet Ertegun and reached number two and went on to sell a million copies. In the UK it missed the chart altogether.
He recorded some cover versions like (There’s) Always Something There to Remind Me and A Whiter Shade of Pale which were minor US hits. R.B. died in September 2012 aged 68.
Let’s remember that hit.