Finis (pronounced Fie-Nis) Henderson grew up exposed to one of the greatest talents of the mid-20th century, as his father was Vice President of Sammy Davis Jr. Enterprises. He trained at the Chicago School of the Arts and, in the early 80s, moved to Los Angeles, where he began a career as a musical impressionist. His work making audiences laugh sometimes has hidden his talent as a musician, singer and songwriter.
I first heard Finis on Bill Wolfer's underrated (but now sought after) 1982 album, Wolf, singing the great "Call Me," which he co-wrote. He teamed up a year later with former Earth Wind and Fire guitarist Al McKay for the album Finis on Motown. It was another example of a strong album that was stuck in the mess that was Motown in the 80s, and it went nowhere. The most commercial cut, the bouncy "Skip To My Lou," only made it halfway up the Soul charts. It's too bad. It was a well made and produced album, and even included a previously unreleased Stevie Wonder composition, the ballad "Crush on You." It also has a wonderful alternate version of "Call Me" and an Al McKay ballad, "You Owe It All To Love." That was his last album, and fortunately has become available on streaming services.
Finis has continued an active career as a musical impressionist, opening large venues for such artists as Smokey Robinson, while regularly headlining at casino resorts and comedy clubs, where he performs an entertaining show in which he does dead-on impersonations of Sammy Davis, Michael Jackson, Willie Nelson, Julio Inglesias and others.
By Chris Rizik