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Kathi McDonald: Above and Beyond

Kathi McDonald, a soulful backup singer in the late ’60s and early ’70s for the likes of Ike & Tina Turner, Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen, Leon Russell and The Rolling Stones (that’s her wailing behind Mick on “Gimme Shelter”), belts with spine-tingling gusto on Above & Beyond (Merrimack Records MR10109; 59:27). On bluesier offerings like “Don’t Give Up on Me,” the tough Texas shuffle “Dallas” and “Georgia Sunday Morning,” the petite blonde roars with the power of Etta James, while “A Soulful Prayer” has her crossing into Janis Joplin territory. Harmonica ace Lee Oskar (of War fame) guests on five tracks along with keyboardist Brian Auger, who pulls out his old Trinity organ licks on Screaming Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You” and on the funky “Stray Cat.”

Originally Published