2 Skye Records gems from Gary McFarland – one deep, one light – both groovy! America The Beautiful is an incredible document of late 60s America – composed and conducted by McFarland in a style that's much more ambitious than any of his other work! The album's fully titled "America The Beautiful: An Account Of Its Disappearance" – and features "movements" with very telling subtitles that include "On This Site Shall Be Erected", "80 Miles An Hour Through Beer Can Country", "Suburbia: Two Poodles And A Plastic Jesus", and our personal favorite, "Due To A Lack Of Interest, Tomorrow Has Been Cancelled". Gary's really wearing his politics on his sleeve here – picturing a late 60s America that's without hope, without revolution, and clearly in danger of falling prey to its own plasticization. The whole thing's a wonderful antidote to the "revolution is coming" side of the 60s that is more popularly pushed – and Gary was one of the few musicians at the time with an eye that was clear enough to see that in the 60s, you could sing "The Times Are A-Changing" – but in reality, the corporations were a-growing! Musically, the album features a larger group of jazz players working in a full, rich style that has lots of soundtrack touches. There's a real Axelrod-like feel to the set – with string passages one minute, funky rhythms the next – and some breakout jazz soloing that really colors the tunes nicely! Players include Jerome Richardson, Eric Gale, Bernard Purdie, and Chuck Rainey – and Gary's mostly doing the conducting on the set. Does The Sun Really Shine On The Moon is a completely different set entirely – part jazz, part easy, and all McFarland, with a cool compressed breezy vibe that's just about impossible to describe accurately! Gary's vibes are wonderfully set in a small combo with reeds by Jerome Richardson, bass by Richard Davis, organ by Warren Bernhardt, and guitar by Sam Brown. The group play haunting, almost-invisible versions of 60s pop tunes, like "God
Only Knows", "Here, There & Everywhere", and "O Morro" – plus a jaunty McFarland original called "Flea Market".