Love Without Trust

Ken Saydak Band / Ken Saydak

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Love Without Trust Review

by Kenneth Bays

Where the guitarless Foolish Man made Saydak's Otis Spann-influenced piano the axis around which everything else revolved, Love Without Trust places the veteran sideman in the center of a full band. The more fleshed-out treatment gives him the flexibility to try new things -- witness the grace with which he appropriates Bob Dylan's hard-driving blues shuffle "Watching the River Flow" -- but it also seems to have instilled in him a tendency toward overly obvious arrangements. Interesting ideas are confounded by generic execution, resulting in songs that work better on paper than on disc. The title cut, for example, sets up an intriguing scenario of the sort not often explored in popular song, but ends up squandering it with female duet vocals that very predictably trade off with Saydak's own. To be fair, not every track is overpowered by that kind of calculated slickness; the jazzy, philosophical "Expressions of Tenderness" shows that Saydak is still one of the keenest observers of human nature in contemporary blues. And on its best cuts, like the witty original "Don't Blame the Messenger" and the incisive cover of Don Nix's "Everybody Wants to Go to Heaven," the album chugs along with confidence and uncommon conviction. In the end, Love Without Trust comes off as a solid but unadventurous sophomore effort for the gruff-voiced Saydak.

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