Let's just say that Donna Jean's work with the Dead (which was before my time) is an area on which mileage varies wildly, and so be it.
I WILL say that this is the second time this week I've really wished a Golden Road story were readily available, because back in the olden days Blair did a really good interview with her that was quite enlightening on several fronts. Including her regular inability to hear herself in the mix, with the results that generated much complaint.
Donna Jean, however, has moved on and has been singing with a number of other bands lately, most recently the Zen Tricksters, and I've gotta say, I have not heard a negative word about her current work from anyone. Quite the reverse.
So I do think there's a bit of a that was then, this is now issue going on with her work. Things are not as they were in the '70s...
I know I'm going to get a lot of flack for saying this, but after seeing 180 shows (about 40 with Donna/Keith), and listening to thousands of recordings, I can only think of two shows that I can "tolerate" with that line up. I can always listen to a nice Eyes or Half-Step from those shows, but never an entire show. The Dead for me is "dead" from 73' to 79'. The band jumps from the end of 72' right to Brent as far as I'm concerned. Granted, Jerry was smokin' during those years, and that is what is so sad. Her vocals were just horrible and frankly unlistenable. I know I'm being a jerk, but I'm just being honest with my opinion. I'd be lying if I thought otherwise. I think that with many true old time Dead heads (other than myself), their favorite years are the mid and late 70's. On the flip side, I think many mainstream people who strongly dislike the Dead do so because of what they have heard from that Donna/Keith period. Go figure. Believe me, I've truly tried to like it, and tried hard, but it ain't happenin'.
I saw her about a year and a half ago at a Black Tie Concert with DSO and she was fabulous! It was great to see her after so many years.
"All energy flows according to the whims of the Great Magnet. What a fool I was to defy him."