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Benjamin Taylor

The Legend of Kung Folk: Part 1 (The Killing Bite)

(Iris; US: 16 Sep 2008; UK: 6 Apr 2009)

Yes, Benjamin Taylor is the son of Carly Simon and James Taylor.  No, he doesn’t sound like either of them. His latest album, The Legend of Kung Folk: Part 1 (The Killing Bite) is not only the martial arts-practitioner’s self-described style of hybrid combat, but also his own personal tao of sound. The nearest, approximate categorization for Taylor’s eclectic style would be reggae-flavored folk. Chances are, if you’re among the crowd that shops at Whole Foods, Ben Taylor’s latest offering may be right up your alley.


In spite of Taylor’s hard-to-pin-down style, The Legend of Kung Folk is an exercise in simplicity and very straight-forward in its approach. As a whole, the disc can get repetitive, however, there are flashes of brilliance. The slinking crawl of “Wrong” is a sharp contrast to the sad ode to needing space in a relationship titled (what else) “Space” with its modernized ‘70s feel. The disc’s standout piece, however is “Wicked Way”. Deceptively sweet and breathily masculine, the song is an appeal for no-strings-attached sex without the pretense of romance. Played and sung slow, soft, and sweet, it marks Benjamin Taylor as the anti-John Mayer: He has that approachably romantic air but is blatantly honest that he’s only in it for the nookie. You gotta like a guy with that level of frankness!

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Lana Cooper has written various reviews and features for PopMatters since 2006. She's also written news stories for EDGE Media, a nationwide network devoted to LGBT news and issues. In 2013, she wrote her first novel, Bad Taste In Men, described as one part chick lit for tomboys and one part Freaks and Geeks for kids who came of age in the mid-'90s. She lives in Philadelphia and enjoys spending time with her family, reading comic books, and avoiding eye contact with strangers on public transportation. A graduate of Temple University, Cooper doesn't usually talk about herself in the first person, but makes an exception when writing an author bio.


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Benjamin Taylor - Wicked Way (Live at WNRN
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