Initially I had reservations about buying this CD, "La Casa de la Trova" by Eliades Ochoa, but when I found an inexpensive copy in the Marketplace I figured I would give it a shot. Of all the various Buena Vista Social Club spin-offs, I have to say I always found the albums by Eliades Ochoa the least enjoyable. Sure they all start out strong, but I feel like each of his three CDs are a bit one note -- same rhythms, tempo, guitar/percussion exchanges -- and by the end I lose interest. Don't get me wrong, I like them enough overall, but when I want to listen to Cuban music, I tend to grab something else from my shelves. However, something that eventually tipped the scales for going ahead and getting this disc was having also purchased the other four titles in this Cuban Essentials series on the Escondida label (see my reviews of El Compadre Again, Sentimiento and Momentos). One of the things I like about these compilations versus all the post-Buena Vista solo albums is they provide a unique opportunity to listen to these artist's pre-Buena Vista careers, which for the likes Compay or Ruben Gonzalez spans decades. The downside of course is these compilations can become more of an historical document that does not necessarily flow from track to track. But "La Casa" is different -- recorded primarily in the 1990s this CD has a real single album feel, both in terms of its overall sound and content. Fortunately, there is also more variety here than the aforementioned later solo projects, and even an oft-revisited piece like "El Cuarto de Tula" has more embellishments and spirit here, like they actually enjoyed playing it back in the day before it became an obligatory encore. So now that I relish this CD, I will have to go back and listen anew to those other Ochoa discs, and see if they match the fire of "La Casa."