According to multiple sources, Finis Tasby, the Los Angeles bluesman that fronted the popular band The Mannish Boys has passed away 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.
Tasby was born in Dallas, Texas in 1940. He formed a band called the Thunderbirds in Dallas in 1962. While working with the Thunderbirds, Tasby played bass and sang backup vocals behind legendary blues singer-songwriter Z.Z. Hill. Hill eventually secured a recording contract, as did Hill’s replacement, Joe Simon. From the mid-1960s, Tasby led the band, delivering lead vocals and playing bass. When not touring under their own name, the Thunderbirds backed up the likes of Clarence Carter, Lowell Fulson and Freddie King, touring regionally throughout Texas and Oklahoma.
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 recent years Tasby’s name rose to blues prominence while with highly successful blues band The Mannish Boys.