Poetix Review of Album “Michael C Ford Look Each Other In The Ears”

August 4th, 2014


Poetry CD Reviews & Other Things!

August 2014

G. Murray Thomas, Senior Editor

CD by Michael C. Ford
Hen House Studio (henhousestudios.com)

Reviewed by G. Murray Thomas

L.A. poet Michael C. Ford has teamed up with his old college buddies The Doors to show how poetry and music can work together. Ford met Ray Manzarek and Jim Morrison at UCLA Film School before they even formed their band. Now, 50 years later, the three (at the time of recording) remaining Doors back him up on his new CD,Look Each Other in the Ears.

What’s important here is that this is not a Doors album, it is a Michael C. Ford album. By that I mean that the music is there to serve the words, not to showcase itself. There is no point at which you say, “Hey, that sounds like the Doors,” at least not so much that it distracts your ears from the poet.

Ford’s poetry has a light touch, yet tackles some deep topics. His primary target is modern American culture, especially its commercialism and militarism. He is an observant poet, pinning his verse on well-chosen imagery. In “Making Out (With Westwood Village),” the image of Pegasus advertising Mobile gas manages to symbolize both that commercialism and the cultural destruction it causes: “someday the gods and goddesses of urban renewal will bring that lofty plastic beastie down from its flamboyant perch.” “Wartime Carol” uses President George H.W. Bush’s stomach problems in Japan as a metaphor for the first Gulf War; although the real potent image in the poem turns out to be a water pistol.

Ford is also capable of more ethereal poetry. “Sleeping Underwater” is simply a beautiful description of a moment. “A Simple Ode (to Frank O’Hara)” and “Waterfalls” are moving eulogies, one to the poet, the other to the turn of the century.

As I said, the music complements the words. “Waterfalls” uses a jazzy, almost New Age sound, anchored on Manzarek’s piano work, to provide the peaceful atmosphere the poem calls for. Similarly with the guitar and piano interplay in “Sleeping Underwater.” On the other hand, “An American Bomb” gets a sparse, bluesy accompaniment, fitting to its story of the nuclear bomb. “Whatever Happened to Grandma’s Orange Groves” is driven by an almost frenzied organ and guitar jam.

My one complaint about the album is the overuse of vocal choruses, often just the title of the poem repeated in a sing-song voice. Unlike the other musical accompaniment, these often do intrude on, and at time overwhelm, the poetry. There are pieces where they do work, such as “Waterfalls” and, somewhat surprisingly, “American Bombs,” where they serve to separate the individual stanzas. But in a meditative piece like “A Simple Ode,” repeating the title in a cheerful chorus detracts from the thoughtful poem about a great poet. And since nearly every piece has a chorus, they quickly become an intrusion on the overall sound of the album.

But that is a minor complaint on what is otherwise a great marriage of music and words. Other poets and musicians could learn a lot from this CD.


Interview with poet/playwright/recording artist Michael C Ford – a legendary voice on the LA poetry scene

July 17th, 2014


Interviewed on WHRW 90.5 FM Binghamton by Dr. B. with Michael C Ford

July 3rd, 2014

Broadcasted on June 2, but you can hear it here: http://doctor-b.podomatic.com/entry/2014-07-02T14_50_38-07_00

Ford speaks about about my new Hen House Studios release “Michael C Ford – Look Each Other In The Ears”.

My Interview starts at 1:04

Michael C. Ford: This Isn’t a Poem – Cultural Weekly

July 3rd, 2014


Michael C. Ford has, since 1984, recorded 81 spoken word tracks on vinyl, CD and laser disk formats. Since 1970, a wide range of indie presses have published approx. 25 volumes of pint documents.

THIS ISN/T A POEM:  this is Allende assassinated in 
                    Chile by CIA-sanctioned gun-                
                    slingers and legal authorities
THIS ISN/T A POEM:  this is Pablo Neruda being 
                    arrested for protesting the 
                    murder of Communist peasants
THIS ISN/T A POEM:  this is Marcos marshalling the                  
                    poor in Chiapas to arm against  
                    a United States supported     
                    Fascist government in Mexico

Radio Intro (2)

THIS ISN/T A POEM:  this is a N0-Doze capsule for             
                    the tragic and tender clones   
                    of University creative writing 
                    programs encouraging poetry 
                    workshop dilettantes who are 
                    dull  and witless and will put    
                    you to sleep                                                                                                                                                                   

THIS ISN/T A POEM:  this is a manifesto for you who
                    don/t think I/m talking about 

THIS ISN/T A POEM:  this is a what will be rejected by 
                    clueless, gutless editors and   
                    publishers and other poetry                       
                    politicians who poison the rebel 
                    spirits in this art form every 
                    time they breathe on it                                

THIS ISN/T A POEM:  this is the way we can figure out 
                    a way to make them all stop  

CD Review: Michael C. Ford’s “Look Each Other in the Ears” – By Sabne Raznik

June 30th, 2014

Review of my new record “Michael C Ford – Look Each Other In The Ears” by John Thomas Allen. Thanks John!

CD Review: Michael C. Ford’s “Look Each Other in the Ears” – By Sabne Raznik

June 30th, 2014


Amazon My Latest Production “Michael C Ford – Look Each Other In The Ears”

June 29th, 2014

Review of my new record “Michael C Ford – Look Each Other In The Ears” by John Thomas Allen. Thanks John!

KCET – Review of the album “Michael C Ford – Look Each Other In The Ears”

June 14th, 2014


MICHAEL C. FORD’S ‘Look Each Other In The Ears’ Album Out Today

June 10th, 2014


The Doors Join College Friend Michael C. Ford on New Album

June 6th, 2014

by Corbin Reiff June 4, 2014 2:53 PM
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Doors fans will have a chance to hear drummer John Densmore and guitarist Robby Krieger collaborate with the late keyboardist Ray Manzarek once more.

The trio is featured on ‘Look Each Other in the Ears,’ an upcoming album from poet, playwright and recording artist Michael C. Ford.

Ford, long before he became a Grammy-winning, Pulitzer Prize-nominated artist, met the Doors’ late frontman Jim Morrison in 1964 when the two were students at UCLA. “Being immediately aware of having mutual admiration for the same cultural heroes, we became comrades and confidants,” Ford said, in press release. That same year, Ford also worked with Manzarek in a band called the White Trash Quintet.

Later, Ford made his concert debut during a 1969 performance by Morrison and Krieger. “Jim invited me to perform with him and Robby for my first time ever on stage at the Cinematheque Theater,” Ford says. “It was a benefit for Norman Mailer that included our UCLA poetry teacher Jack Hirschman, Michael McClure and an elite cadre of Andy Warhol film people all wrangled by Jim.”

Morrison died in 1971 of an apparent drug overdose. Manzarek was stricken by cancer and passed last year. Michael C. Ford’s ‘Look Each Other in the Ears’ is set for release on June 10. For more information visit michaelcford.com

Read More: The Doors Join College Friend Michael C. Ford on New Album | http://ultimateclassicrock.com/doors-michael-c-ford/?trackback=tsmclip