Saturday, October 13, 2012

R. B. GREAVES (1943 - 2012)


I was out of town when I heard that singer, R.B. Greaves past away on September 27th at the age of sixty-eight but I wanted to still pay tribute. He only managed to record one self-titled album and had only one hit song during his entire career but whenever I hear "Take A Letter, Maria", it brings a warm feeling, taking me back to my childhood. I just thought it was a fun song but clearly I didn't really understand the lyrics which is about a man dictating to his secretary to write his wife, informing her that he's leaving after discovering she had cheated. It's a pretty odd thing to do as well as a strange subject matter for a pop song but regardless, I still think it's really a great tune

Ronald Bertram Greaves (a cousin of r&b artist, Sam Cooke) began his career performing with the group, The TNTs before going solo. He had to be convinced by his label to record this song he had written as his first single because two big artists, Tom Jones and Stevie Wonder, had already previously performed it. However, his version (which had a bit of a Latin flavor and was produced by Atlantic Records president, Ahmet Ertegun) was the only one that became a smash. "Take A Letter, Maria" just missed topping the U.S. pop chart in 1969 but it remained on the chart for fifteen weeks and went on to sell over a million copies.

Let's have a listen to his classic song:

 "Take A Letter Maria" - R.B. Greaves (1969)

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