Finis Tasby (1940 - 2014)
Finis Tasby, the Los Angeles bluesman that fronted the popular band The Mannish Boys passed away on November 2, 2014 as a result of complications from a stroke he suffered in December of 2012. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and his large circle of friends inside and outside the blues world. Finis was 74.
Powerhouse blues vocalist Finis Tasby was born in Dallas, Texas in 1940,and grew up immersed in the vital Texas blues tradition. As a teenager, Finis got his first professional music experience as drummer with the swinging local combo The Blues Blasters. By the early 1960s he'd switched instruments, and was playing bass and singing backup with local legends The Thunderbirds, working regularly with Z.Z. Hill, and also backing Clarence Carter, Lowell Fulson, and Freddie King on regional tours.
By the mid '60s Finis had stepped out in front of the band, and began establishing his reputation as one of the most soulful blues singers on the circuit. In 1973, Tasby moved to Los Angeles and found a home in that city’s blues clubs. He formed a new group in Los Angeles and had the chance to open for B.B. King, Percy Mayfield and Big Mama Thornton.
Tasby recorded several singles in the 1970s and ’80s: “Get Drunk and Be Somebody,” in 1978, and “Blues Mechanic,” a 1985 release for Ace Records. Tasby also landed an acting role in the film Sharkey’s Machine with Burt Reynolds, all the while playing regularly around L.A. blues clubs with his own Finis Tasby Band. Most recently, three of Tasby’s songs from his Shanachie Records debut, People Don’t Care (1995), were featured in the mid-1990s film The Babysitter. While his singles are surely collectors’ items, his 1995 Shanachie release is still readily available. Accompanying Tasby on People Don’t Care are some world class talents: Lowell Fulson, Elvin Bishop, Mick Taylor and Vernon Reid, formerly of the rock group Living Colour. While some tracks on the album are less appealing, urban contemporary pop-blues, other tracks reveal Tasby’s authentic Texas blues roots.
In the late 1990s Finis began his alliance with Rand Chortkoff, when Rand independently produced Finis' CD "Jump Children", which was released to wide acclaim on the Evidence label. (Finis also recently released the CD "Tribute To John Lee Hooker" on the small Kon Kord label.) Finis and Rand have worked closely since then on several other recording projects and numerous live performances. In recent years Tasby’s name rose to blues prominence while with highly successful blues band The Mannish Boys.
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