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R U Kind?

Donna Jean...

#55883 3 years ago
Many people knock Donna Jean, but she is an accomplished singer. Dare I say more accomplished than Bobby (as a singer).

Last night the GD channel played a show from 6-28-1976 and during set II (from Dancing to Round N Round) I realized I think Donna was singing better than Bobby. Plus she knew when to sing and when to let Bobby sing. I understand maybe "better" was a poor choice of words on my part, but she certainly sang with feeling and real soul.

Her vocals reminded me of the interplay between the guitarists, weaving in and out of each other. Her singing and Bobby's seemed to do the same.

I always hear that Donna should have shut up and let Bobby sing, and when she howls I sometimes agree. But I wonder if she should have been given more singing roles. I <think> I wish I had the opportunity to see her sing and spin with the dead. And this is no knock on Bobby, I lcve everything he does, fluck ups and all.

www.archive.org/details/gd1976-06-28.sbd...miller.112296.flac16 <-- link to the show

From Wikipedia:

Prior to 1970, she had worked as a session singer[1] in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, appearing on songs by Elvis Presley and Cher.[2] (MY COMMENT - that's the real deal)

With other artists

Donna Godchaux (née Donna Thatcher) has contributed background or lead vocals on many albums by different artists.[8]

* From Elvis in Memphis – Elvis Presley – 1969
* From Memphis to Vegas/From Vegas to Memphis – Elvis Presley – 1969
* 3614 Jackson Highway – Cher – 1969
* Boz Scaggs – Boz Scaggs – 1969
* Ton-Ton Macoute! – Johnny Jenkins – 1970
* Ace – Bob Weir – 1972
* Demon in Disguise – David Bromberg – 1972
* Gypsy Cowboy – New Riders of the Purple Sage – 1972
* The Adventures of Panama Red – New Riders of the Purple Sage – 1973
* Tales of the Great Rum Runners – Robert Hunter – 1974
* Tiger Rose – Robert Hunter – 1975
* Reflections – Jerry Garcia – 1976
* Cats Under the Stars – Jerry Garcia Band – 1977
* Here Goes Nothing – Zero – 1987
* Laughing Water – Jazz Is Dead – 1999
* Don't Let Go – Jerry Garcia Band – 2001
* Worcester, MA, 4/4/73 – New Riders of the Purple Sage – 2003
* Theatre 1839, July 29 & 30, 1977 – Jerry Garcia Band – 2004
* Warner Theatre, March 18, 1978 – Jerry Garcia Band – 2005
* For Rex: The Black Tie Dye Ball – The Zen Tricksters and various artists – 2006
* Bay Area, 1978 – Jerry Garcia Band – 2009
FFF! Family is Forever!!!

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Expert Boarder

Re: Donna Jean...

#55884 3 years ago
Yeah shes awesome. I have seen her at Gratefulfest the last two years with her band DSO, and JGB. She is a national treasure, and still has it.
I wish I was the headlight on a northbound train.
Platinum Boarder
I love what I love and I want it that way

Re: Donna Jean...

#55898 3 years ago
Your making me throw up. Any scarlet I hear her in I just can't stand. Ahhhhhhhhahhhhhhhhahhhhhhhhhhh all at the wring times.
Bobby is a thousand times better.
And I'm going to sit right here until I die
Senior Boarder

Re: Donna Jean...

#55909 3 years ago
I can appreciate her contributions to the band. Sometimes that wail in Playing is just so perfectly on cue and just spot on that it brings a whole new dimension to the music. I'm def not a donna basher... she has her place in the history of the dead, and was part of the band during some of the best years they had....
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Good Love!

Re: Donna Jean...

#55914 3 years ago
Yes of course she has earned her place in the Grateful Dead...

And there were times when she sounded real good..... I really enjoyed what she had to offer in the Jerry Garcia Band.
Dreams are lies...it's the dreaming that's real!!!!
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Junior Boarder

Re: Donna Jean...

#55915 3 years ago
I love Donna, vocal warts and all.

Her "Raging Beast" wail in "Passenger" always gets me and she always added a great touch to "Looks Like Rain" amongst others. I think the main thing was that her voice meshed better with Weir's, tonally speaking, than it did with Jerry's and that may have led to some of the criticism. Add to that a lack of proper stage monitors and it becomes difficult to remain on key sometimes.

Regardless, all of this is just my opinion and it only really matters to me. If people want to dislike her with the Dead, well, that's they're perogative as well and I'm not going to fault them for that no matter how much I might disagree.
Senior Boarder

Re: Donna Jean...

#55934 3 years ago
FurthurFlower67 wrote:
Yes of course she has earned her place in the Grateful Dead...

And there were times when she sounded real good..... I really enjoyed what she had to offer in the Jerry Garcia Band.

While she did great with the dead, I thought Garcia had trouble with having her up there in JGB... he def sang softer than he normally would and it caused the music to be much more subdued... I always thought because he had trouble vocalizing with her so it made him sing in hushed tones?

The donna JGB years are not my favorites... I want Garcia fired up... not mellowed out more than need be....

on another note, there was a great website discussion as to why Garcia's various bands suddenly, and near permanently went from being named Legion of Mary, etc to the Jerry Garcia Band (one would think he'd avoid doing that because of the trappings associated with his name being the band name...). Someone came up with the idea that in 1975, the Dead were no longer bringing in tour $, and he had started the independent record label, with one of the first record coming out being the Goddchaux's solo work. So, in order to help maximize the cash flow, he may have felt pressured to name his band JGB in order to ensure more commercial success to help the organization stay a float. If that is so, it sure dispels the idea that Garcia did not have any business acumen...
Platinum Boarder

Re: Donna Jean...

#56007 3 years ago
she's fantastic i met her once at vibes, awesome woman to just be standing next to
who else is gonna bring you, a broken arrow?
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