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A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

 #146334  by TI4-1009
 Mon Apr 27, 2015 7:17 am
Great quote from over at TGP (and I'm a Donna fan):

"Do you realize exactly where "nails on a chalkboard" ranks in the pantheon of Grateful Dead vocalists? It goes something like "Nails on a chalkboard > Cats mating > Donna at her best > Cats mating with nails on a chalkboard > Satan's own whistling > Donna at her worst > Phil".

They have been a band in search of a singer since March 8, 1973."
 #146375  by dleonard
 Tue Apr 28, 2015 6:22 am
astroman99 wrote:Donna's singing on the studio albums(wake of the flood and after) of that period was inspired.
Agreed. The other day I was listening to the studio version of The Music Never Stopped and Donna sounded terrific!
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 #146378  by tcsned
 Tue Apr 28, 2015 8:43 am
Donna is an accomplished singer, she has sung with Elvis, Percy Sledge. Bozz Scaggs . . .

The studio stuff she did with the dead was spot on. She supposedly had trouble hearing on stage, especially with the Wall of Sound - those damn loud-ass guitar players! She got a little pitchy on occasion.

The two shows I saw her recently she sounded great.
 #160080  by nuthatchwinters
 Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:55 am
donna was just fine. and seems like a great person. yes should would wail from time to time but I truly don't think she could have anticipated that it would live on in infamy the way it has especially with just about every second of grateful dead music ever played available with the click of the mouse. jerry must have gave her high marks as he brought her over to the j.g.band along with keith. could she sing like Aretha? no. she hit the harmonies just fine.
 #160086  by mgbills
 Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:29 pm
That is a funny quote.
For years I was wondering WTF is up with Donna.

Now my brain processes her vocals as part of the essential dissonance and resolution of the era.

Some of her early stuff was fairly dissonant even for me.
 #160087  by gratefulredhead
 Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:43 pm
My contention is that she was mainly just too hot in the mix most of the time on recordings. Rare person that sings perfectly, and setting someone properly into the mix does a lot to improve the overall effect. On sound board shows where she's dialed back she invariably sounds good.
 #160089  by Searing75
 Sat Feb 03, 2018 7:54 am
I liked Donna’s contribution to the music, but I will always struggle with her wailing during the Playing Jam! And, she ruined a few amazing Greatest Story’s as well. Oh, and some Scarlet Fires.
 #160090  by Jon S.
 Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:20 pm
My personal view and experience is that Donna's vocals almost always "cost" the Dead at shows, on average, more than they "contributed."
 #160113  by ac4468
 Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:39 pm
We all seem to be able to accept the fact that Jerry had good and bad nights and that's part of this beautiful experiment. The same courtesy should be extended to Donna! It's an acquired taste for sure and one that most took some time to acquire at that. I always cringe when I'm in the car with a non-deadhead and Donna belts it out in Playin. BUT, I secretly love it. I listen to any of the fantastic bands out there carrying on the tradition and when their "Donna" is completely in key it makes me miss hearing the real thing for better or worse.
 #160130  by gratefulredhead
 Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:18 am
ac4468 wrote:
Sun Feb 04, 2018 6:39 pm
We all seem to be able to accept the fact that Jerry had good and bad nights and that's part of this beautiful experiment. The same courtesy should be extended to Donna! It's an acquired taste for sure and one that most took some time to acquire at that. I always cringe when I'm in the car with a non-deadhead and Donna belts it out in Playin. BUT, I secretly love it. I listen to any of the fantastic bands out there carrying on the tradition and when their "Donna" is completely in key it makes me miss hearing the real thing for better or worse.
Well said! Man, the Donna bashing posts get old. I should ignore then but I always feel compelled to defend her because she's still alive and if she ever happened upon a thread that was bashing her I'd want her to see she has plenty of fans.
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 #160132  by TI4-1009
 Mon Feb 05, 2018 11:55 am
Well, since I started this thread (three years ago...). I was there through all the Donna years. I remember the first time I saw her at the Onondaga War Memorial. Way pre-internet days- even pre hotline days I think. "Huh- since when did the Dead get a chick singer???".

Count me in as a Donna fan, those were some great shows.