Saturday, October 6, 2012

Story Songs: Take A Letter, Maria

In memory of R.B. Greaves, who recently passed away from cancer, this post features his biggest hit, "Take A Letter, Maria." It reached No. 2 on the Billboard charts in 1969.

Greaves penned the song about a man sending a letter to his unfaithful wife after he walks in on her "in the arms of another man." 

The narrator, after packing his bags and leaving the house, dictates a letter to his secretary, which is repeated in the song's chorus:

"So take a letter, Maria, address it to my wife
Say I won't be coming home, gonna start a new life
So take a letter, Maria, address it to my wife
Send a copy to my lawyer, gotta start a new life"

In the second verse, the man admits that he may have played a part in the matter:

"Was I wrong to work nights to try to build a good life
All work and no play just cost me a wife"

I think the song takes a cute twist at the end when he turns his attention to Maria:

"I never really noticed how sweet you are to me
It just so happens I'm free tonight
Would you like to have dinner with me?"

I believe the horns in the song give the song a Latin flavor. It was recorded at the famed Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Alabama.  

If you read the obituary, you'll find that Greaves was a nephew to the late, great singer Sam Cooke, one of my all-time favorite artists.


  1. You really find some of my favorite oldies to write about! I haven't heard this one in years! A nice bit of trivia. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Many of the oldies were stories about love, heartbreak, and tragedy. Thanks for the comment, Sandie.