Turnquist Remedy

Iowa by the Sea

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Iowa by the Sea, typically filed as an early foot note in the career of future America member Michael Woods, has value above and beyond its role as the answer to a soft rock trivia question. Not the psychedelic band that some collectors and record sellers insist, Turnquist Remedy was, nevertheless, a pretty fair outfit as (alternately) sensitive-but-scruffy balladeers and muscularly acoustic, country-rocking longhairs go, though clearly they were second fiddlers to Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and the Grateful Dead, the peers to which the band is most frequently (and accurately) compared. Like the former, Turnquist Remedy displayed a knack -- if not quite a gift -- for woolly romanticism and searching, jazzy chord turns (the lovely "Anytime Soon" in particular); like the latter, they had some ability at constructing fluid guitar expeditions accompanied by tight percussive grooves (the first-rate "Flyin' Dudley Waltz"), and with a sense of laissez-faire communalism (its near equals, "We Don't Even Know" and "All Gone Blues Act"). But unlike either of those groups, Turnquist Remedy's overall sound doesn't quite transcend the hippie milieu from which it emerged or the time period in which it was created. They were certainly more than capable players and Woods penned a pretty nifty set of seven tunes (joined by a rousing, bluesy rendition of Richard & Mimi Fariña's folk-rock chestnut "Reno, Nevada"), so the album is never less than an enjoyable -- and occasionally even a compelling -- listen. But its underlying derivativeness and lack of strong identity or distinguishing personality keep it from being a wholly satisfying one.

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