So a couple things right of the bat… this performance has been on repeat for me for a couple of days. One reason is that “I Can’t Help It” may rank in my top five songs of all time, because quite frankly it is a masterpiece rhythmically, harmonically, melodically, lyrically period. I’m not being arrogant when I say that last statement is not up for debate.

Secondly, the fact that this is a performance by the co-writer of this opus, Susaye Greene, causes me to be so introspective because it is almost if I can hear the writing sessions that she and Stevie had over thirty years ago. There’s a phenomenon that occurs when the originator of an idea performs their creation, it’s just a different space.

Thirdly, the performance itself. The band is killin’ straight pocket style, great backing vocals courtesy of our friends from SOULKISS, a great keyboard solo from Ron Gilmore and Susaye herself who goes far beyond singing the song, she is living the song onstage.

I’m sure I’m not the only person that does this but often when I find videos on youtube that I enjoy I will put them on repeat and go and do other things online while I’m still listening to the music. I’ll often do this if I have to transcribe a song that I have to perform, I listen to it a bunch of times before I even try to play a note and I find that magically the song tends to play itself. I say all this to say we have to make a conscious effort to listen to music more, than we watch it.

The most important criteria in undertaking this approach is determining first and foremost if you are being presented with music. I would say that beyond a shadow of a doubt, this song, performance and musicians personify what music means to me: passionate, substantive, artful, liberating communication. I would love to say to my wife what Susaye is communicating through singing but speaking is only one dimensional and compared to the three dimensional experience that is music, my verbal entreaties would be quite a bit less than par for the course.

Here’s the challenge, currently there are about 571 or so views of this video on youtube. The point is that here you have a great performance by the co-writer of a song that I believe should stand on equal footing with the works of Gershwin, Porter, Rodgers et al in the Great American Songbook and we can get more people to check it out than that??? And you wonder why music in the main is in the sad state of affairs that its in?

When you don’t know better you cannot do better, here at GFM we would like to believe that we can be an agent of the knowing to influence the doing. If you didn’t know, now you do and it is our collective responsibility to tell everyone that we know so that they might be informed. Please pass this piece of history around for music’s sake!

Ivan Orr is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and writer. A native of Charlottesville, Virginia Ivan was involved with the forming and nascent days of The Music Resource Center as its first Program Director. A graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Department of Music, Ivan currently resides in Richmond, VA where he maintains an active performance and production schedule while serving as the Music Editor for Grown Folks Music, a position he has held since 2010.