Steely Dan UHQR Series

Jim Turner

The Well-Tempered Saw



Produced By: Jim Turner

Engineered By: Dave Howard, Charlie Shoemaker and Jim Weaver

By: Tracking Angle

October 31st, 2022





Originally Seen In:


Jim Turner's 'The Well-Tempered Saw'

From the archives: Listening to this album is akin to inserting a palate cleanser in your system

(This review, written by Carl E. Baugher, originally appeared in Issue 7, Spring 1996.)

Don’t laugh, this is not just a novelty record—it’s actually a helluva musical album. Jim Turner is an amazing virtuoso with the ol’ crosscut and he never lapses into sound effects or cheap diddling. The album is a jumble of classical and folk music with Turner’s high-pitched saw at the center of some pretty fine acoustic recordings. The folk stuff is especially good.

You gotta hear Turner’s high soprano saw backed by acoustic guitar and acoustic bass on “Wayfaring Stranger” to fully appreciate what this stuff is all about. Turner’s weird, whining sonority is not at all ambiguously pitched. In fact, his intonation is superb. And there’s a vocal quality to his playing that is completely winning and, well, wonderful. I also love the “Wildwood Sawyer” with its conventional sawing (think lumberjack) along with the more musical approach of this “psawchologist” (Turner’s term, dammit, I can’t take credit).

Listening to this album is akin to inserting a palate cleanser in your system. It’s light, tuneful, unique and endlessly appealing. No matter what your musical taste, I’m betting you’re gonna love this record. And it’s recorded in excellent, purist analog sound. It’s even encoded for four-channel “Quadrisonic” playback!

Right now, they’re selling these sealed records for a buck a piece plus shipping. It’s mostly contemporary classical but adventurous listeners shouldn’t hesitate. Where else can you find a bargain like that? In any case, get yourself a copy of Turner’s saw thang. You’ll thank me.

Music Specifications

Label: Owl Records

Catalog No: ORLP-22