BtB, I watched that clip a few weeks ago and was stunned. I have never heard Dionne sound so horrible. I wonder if she had a cold or something at that time, or was feeling ill. She really should have begged off singing that night. I felt so embarassed for her.
Dionne, Dionne, Dionne, why another album of these boring retreads? Why compete with yourself from a time when your skils were unimpeachable? Now if she were to sing some new Bacharach tunes, maybe some ones like "On My Own", "Arthur's Theme" that were done by Burt but sung by others, I would be pleased. But you are right, those songs produced by her son are absolutely dreadful. I understand that Damon has had a lot of success producing for contemporary artists so I am thinking he must be capable of putting out something better than that. It just seems like Dionne is more concerned with pleasing her family and friends, such as duetting with her granddaughter and son and allowing her other son to produce, which--although in a way admirable, does not result in good product.
I just think there must be something else going on besides smoking that can cause such a vocal deterioration. I was reading a message board somewhere else out on the web, and someone who had claimed to work as a session singer on recordings for many big stars, stated that they had worked with Dionne, Cissy, and Whitney, and that Dionne and Cissy had terrible singing "form"--whatever that means, and that is why their voices have deteriorated. I don't think the poster was stating that they were singing "wrong" per se, but that instead of singing from their diaphragm, they use all throat and that's what causes the voice box to wear out. I have no idea if this is true or if this poster was making that all up. Do we know what Dionne's habits have been through the years as far as her vocals? Of course she was trained at Hartt conservatory, but did she work with vocal coaches and perform vocal exercises throughout her career? I just have a feeling you don't just wake up in the morning with the ability to belt and hold notes the way Dionne was doing routinely in the 80s. From looking at her older performances from the 60s and 70s, I never really saw Dionne do much of the vocal acrobatics stuff she started doing in the early 80s. What changed? I would love to hear how her live shows evolved through her career.