This post is in remembrance of a tremendous singer from my hometown of Mt. Vernon, WA. Her name was Kathi McDonald.

You’ve never heard of her right? Well, whether you know it or not, Kathi has climbed into your ear holes once or twice. Maybe you heard her on the Stones’ Exile On Main Street (that’s her on “Tumbling Dice”). You might have heard her with Ike and Tina as one of the Ikettes. I wish I could’ve seen the look on Ike’s face when he first heard her. Kathi could blow your head off with that voice. She took over vocal duties for Janis Joplin in Big Brother, toured and recorded with Joe Cocker, Leon Russell, Long John Baldry, Betty Davis, Delaney and Bonnie, Dave Mason and on and on.

Kathi’s father, Nick, was my next door neighbor through grade school. I was good friends with her daughter Erin who also lived next door. I never got to know Kathi but my dad went to high school with her. Mt. Vernon was a small town. Sometimes Kathi would come over and holler at Erin to “get the heck home right this instant!” Like a lot of us, Kathi did some hard living. She did her time when she had to but she always came back singing. I last saw her opening for B.B. King with the Seattle Women in Rhythm and Blues back in the 90’s. Man, she could murder Hound Dog.

Kathi McDonald passed away on October 3rd at the age of 64

Title track from Kathi McDonald’s 1972 solo album featuring Sly Stone:

– Submitted by Blake Deming, Music Design