Friday, March 26, 2021

Sequoiah - Sequoiah (1976 us, wonderful folk country rock, 2009 korean remaster)

After a stint in the Army, a college degree, and an Air Force tour, singer/guitarist Tom Mobley kicked around the Indiana music scene playing in the band Shiloh Morning, and working in the duo Pleasant Street, before joining Sequoiah with brothers Bill and Bob Johnson.   

Signed by Moe Whittemore's 700 West label, the trio debuted with 1976's cleverly titled "Sequoiah". Produced by Whittemore, the album featured a combination of band originals and covers by the likes of Gordon Lightfoot ('Brave Mountaineers') and Jerry Jeff Walker ('Bo Jangles'). All three members handled vocals with Mobley having the best voice of the three. Musically the album found the trio offering up a pleasant mixture of country-rock numbers and more country oriented numbers. Imagine a mixture of Asleep At the Wheel, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and Poco, and you'd be in the right aural neighborhood. 

The results were never less than professional, but with the possible exception of the ballad 'Trail of Tears' and 'When You Are Old' nothing here was particularly original, or inspirational. Too be totally honest, were it not for the connection with 700 West, there's a good chance this set would have disappeared without a trace.

'Memories (of a Man and a Woman)' is a pretty, acoustic country-tinged ballad. Nothing particularly original or special, the song's high came in the form of a nice acoustic guitar and some brief harmony vocals. Mobley's 'When You Are Old' is easily one of the best tunes. A pretty country-rock ballad, the tune had a gleaming melody and a nice Mobley vocal - yeah, the lyric was a bit on the sweet side, but it was still a nice performance. 

Another album highlight, coutesy of some electtic guitar and producer Whittemore's synthesizers, Mobley's 'We're Al Friends' was the song came the closest to copping a rock attitude. Nice tunePretty acoustic country tune that showcased the trio's sweet harmony vocals and got an extra star for Bill Johnson's unexpected blazing electric guitar solo.  

'Trail of Tears' is a beautiful song. Built on a bed of shimmering acoustic guitars and again showcasing their crystalline voices, this was a wonderful performance. 

The band seemingly only recorded this one album before calling it quits. Mobley relocated to Florida and has remained active in music, recording a series of ten solo albums. 
1. Memories (Of A Man And Woman) (Bob Johnson) - 3:36
2. I Can'T Make It Any Better (Bill Johnson) - 4:00
3. Bo Jangles (Jerry Jeff Walker) - 6:03
4. When You Are Old (Tom Mobley) - 4:33
5. Brave Mountaineers (Gordon Lightfoot) - 3:26
6. We're All Friends (Tom Mobley) - 3:13
7. The Sun Shines For You (Bob Johnson) - 4:23
8. Now She's Gone (Bill Johnson) - 3:28
9. Trail Of Tears (Bob Johnson) - 5:18
10. Jambalaya (Hank Williams) - 3:09

*Tom Mobley - Vocals, 12 String Rhythm Guitar, Harmonica
*Bill Johnson - Vocals, Pedal Steel Guitar, 6 String Acoustic Lead Guitar, Lead Electric Guitar
*Bob Johnson - Vocals, All Percussion, High String Acoustic Guitar, Bass
*The Committee - String Arrangements
*Moe Whittemore - Synthesizer, Piano
*David Whittemore - Child's Voice
*Bob Liederbach - Fiddle
*Bill Cullum - Trust And Friendship
*Bagwell Cauterfield - Banjo