John Jarvis was an MCA Master Series workhorse. Jarvis and Edgar Meyer would be with the label from the very first sampler release to beyond the last sampler’s release – from beginning to end. These two would be the only ones to reach four releases on the label. John Jarvis brought a country piano/keyboard sound to the label, despite it being simply labeled as “new age”. Another informal genre name would be “Weather Channel music”.
So Fa So Good
This first album shows Jarvis as a young, aspiring writer and player. The songs are good, but not as mature as his later albums.
Being such as early release, this is one of the few albums to use the first design style. It has a large colored border, no color bar in the upper-left, and a center art piece in muted colors. Like others from the first design, the spine text is upside down.
The second release, in 1987, only a year later, has songs that are solid and stand the test of time. Unlike other albums, this features Jarvis testing his abilities, with powerful, brash songs that may be a counter-argument to being classed as “new age”.
The artwork uses the second design style, which has a solid white border and an attractive photographic center art piece that extends beyond its borders. This cover is a prime example of the second design style.
The third release builds on the success of the former album, and in many ways duplicates its success by duplicating its songs. Despite the similar themes and sounds, this is a more mature release, without the pomposity of the previous one.
The artwork on this album, like the music, is in the same style. It is actually one of the most attention grabbing covers due to the multiple elements in the center art that all reinforce the “Whatever Works” title.
The final release for Jarvis on MCA Master Series before moving on contains a song with vocals. It’s unknown if this relaxing of the instrumental standard that the MCA Master Series historically maintained was due to the inclusion of Walter Hyatt (a vocalist) to the roster, or because the label was ending and there was a “Do whatever you want” attitude, or if Jarvis fought to have that song on there. Regardless, this album has little resemblance to the prior albums and might be a fitting end to the label.
The artwork on the album is mostly in the second design style and doesn’t match the other albums released in this timeframe. When all others were using photographs, this is illustrative art and not even in the same style as other albums.