Michael C. Ford – Look Each Other In the Ears
Posted by Steve Rosen on May 21, 2014 at 3:48pm
On this very unique and engaging CD, hipster poet Michael C. Ford is backed by the Doors – keyboardist Ray Manzarek, drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robbie Krieger – while the Pulitzer Prize and Grammy-nominated wordsmith recites his strange, beautiful, bebop poetry. Ford was a longtime friend of the Los Angeles band – and was even considered for the position of bass player until the decision was made for keyboardist Manzarek to tackle the bottom end – and now that they’ve finally gotten together for this spoken word symphony, the only question is, “Why did it take so long?”
The 11 recordings here represent the last time the three remaining Doors ever recorded together. The music is variously jazzy, bluesy, funky and smoky depending on the type of rap Ford is laying down. Geggy Tah‘s Tommy Jordan and Fishbone‘s Angelo Moore also participated in the project and you can hear their vocal contributions on many of the tracks.
Ford is a beautiful poet in the beat tradition and you can hear traces of Jack Kerouac and Charles Bukowski in his words. His voice is low and mellifluous and tracks rhythmically over the grooves laid down by Manzarek, Densmore and Krieger. He talks about amphibians and clubs long gone, about Desert Storm, advertising and orange groves.
Here is the tracklist:
“For Openers (Lost Jazz Bars in Four-Time)”
“A Simple Ode (To Frank O’Hara)”
“Waterfalls (Look Each Other in the Ears)”
“I Don’t Wanna Go (Said the Suicide)”
“Mars Is America (Anytime at All)”
“Making Out (with Westwood Village)”
“(Autobiography of) An American Bomb”
“Wartime Carol (Bringing the War Back Home)”
“Whatever Happened to the Orangegroves, Grandma”
“Float of Drive (Triple Bypass)”
There were a lot of poet/filmmakers at the UCLA film school. Of course, Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek, but also Michael C Ford who met Ray Manzarek at the UCLA film school. When The Doors were first formed, Ford was considered as a bass player for the band. Ford went on to become a well known poet achieving some of the poetic accolades Jim Morrison had envisioned for himself (he was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award). Michael C. Ford was also friends with the other members of The Doors, he appeared with Jim Morrison and Robby Krieger at the Cinematheque Theater 16 readings. Manzarek liked setting music to poet’s words, he appeared with and released CDs with Beat poet Michael McClure (see related articles below). This June 10th Ford has a new CD, “Look Each Other in the Ears” coming out. Manzarek, Krieger, and John Densmore all play on the CD.
You can listen to a sample of the tracks on Amazon. Ford recites his poems which have a very jazzy feel and the poems are crafted into songs. All three surviving members of The Doors played on all the tracks (the CD was obviously recorded before Manzarek’s death last May), and Tommy Jordan of Geggy Tah and Angelo Moore of Fishbone add choruses. The track listing has some very cool names “For Openers,” “A Simple Ode,” “Waterfalls,” “I Don‘t Wanna Go,” “Mars is America,” “Sleeping Underwater,” “Making Out,” “An American Bomb,” “Wartime Carol,” “Whatever Happened to the Orange Groves Grandma,” and “Float of Drive.”
“Look Each Other in the Ears” is coming out June 10, 2014. You can pre-order and listen to samples of the poem/songs on Amazon.
- Jim Cherry
When The Doors first formed Michael C Ford was considered for the bass player position, however, it was decided that keyboardist Ray Manzarek would play the bass on his organ instead. This decision gave the Doors their unique sound. Michael went on to become a Pulitzer Prize, Grammy nominated poet while all along remaining close friends and collaborators with the band as they rose to international stardom. This album marks a reunion and the last recording for the three Doors members, Ray Manzarek, Robby Krieger and John Densmore, backing up Michael C Ford as he recites his poetry. Vocal choruses are added by Tommy Jordan (Geggy Tah) and Angelo Moore (Fishbone).
Pre- order the CD on Amazon. Vinyl LP and Mp3 downloads available soon. Official release date is June 10, 2014.
Ray Manzarek - Keyboards | Robby Krieger – Guitars | John Densmore – Drums | Tommy Jordan, Angelo Moore – Vocals | Paul Bushnell – Bass |Dave Ralicke, Danny Moynahan – Horns | Kieron Menzies – Mixing | Brian Big Bass Gardner – Mastering | Produced by Harlan Steinberger at Hen House Studios, Venice, California
When I first met Michael C. Ford, he didn’t have a C in his name. He was just Michael Ford… but he had hair. The late, great, Ray Manzarek introduced him as one of his film school buddies. He was the first guy I d ever seen with Beatle hair. Or Rolling Stone hair. Michael said he played bass, and we needed a bass player… we thought. Then we found a keyboard bass that Ray could play with his left hand, and decided we didn’t need one. But Michael Ford already looked like a rocker. I aspired to that.
When the words started tumbling out of Michael s mouth, the C became his middle ballast. And that voice. The ultimate hipster. I defy anyone to name a cooler cat then MC Ford. His breadth of knowledge about the scene is unmatched. He knows more about jazz drummers than I do! I think this record is really good… I mean really good. I hope you listeners will dig it, cause I dug it, and will dig it for a long time… – John Densmore
January 14, 2014 / High Noon.
This is called “blogging” but it/s really all about LOGGING: that is logging in observations and remembrances and daydreaming. And, if it/s about WRITING, surely then it is, with every poke on typewriter buttons, asking the question of why the necessity to write all these lines of revelation. That question needs to be answered with another question: how can I know what I know until I see what I say?
Writing is like linear and non-linear smokesignals: messages to the rest of us, whether our words are filling a blank page or scripted across a computer screen, we are basically allowing ourselves to offer information we think will inspire compatible thoughts in similar image-minds out there in cyber land.
Relating this to what has been inspiring over the years in the evolving history of the art form of Poetry in Los Angeles, specifically and the rest of the world incidentally, allow me to remind you of a Beyond Baroque eventthis Sunday afternoon, Wanda Coleman/s poetry and prose contributions to American urban literature will be reviewed and revered in the Memorial her soul-mate Austin Straus has arranged to be presented at The Church In Ocean Park at 2:pm on this coming-up Sunday January 19.
Austin invited me to join my Los Angeles brother and sister writers to celebrate the language arts life of Wanda Coleman. And hoping that all of you reading this will be able to join us in the congregation. -MCF