Released in 1971, The Land of Many Churches is similar to other Merle Haggard tribute albums released in the same era, including Same Train, Different Time and I Love Dixie Blues. To his credit, Haggard had a greater need to shine light on the music that influenced him, more so than the need to release material that guaranteed a surefire hit. These 24 tracks include gospel chestnuts "Precious Memories," "Turn Your Radio On," "Amazing Grace," and a great version of the Hank Williams composition "I Saw the Light." Recorded live at the Nashville Union Rescue Mission and several rural churches across the country, Haggard is joined by guests Bonnie Owens and the Carter Family. Highly recommended to traditional country fans.
When Columbia released Land of Passion in 1979, the album received scathing reviews from jazz critics. They knew Hubert Laws for his work as a jazz instrumentalist, and for the most part, Land of Passion isn't instrumental jazz – it isn't hard bop, post-bop, or even fusion. The main focus of this LP is mellow, mildly jazzy R&B/pop (with the occasional instrumental). So serious jazz standards shouldn't be applied.
The name of gambist and conductor Jordi Savall's new Alia Vox Diversa label may seem puzzling, inasmuch as it's hard to imagine anything more diverse that the existing Alia Vox catalogue, covering music that spans half the globe. The unifying factor seems to be that Savall himself is not present; the leader of the Euskal Barrokensemble here is multi-instrumentalist Enrike Solinís, a member of Savall's Hesperion XXI. The music is for the most part not "Baroque" but covers a wide range of music associated with the Euskel Antiqva, the Basque legacy.