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Frank Zappa - Bongo Fury CD (album) cover

BONGO FURY

Frank Zappa

 

RIO/Avant-Prog

3.54 | 195 ratings

From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

UMUR
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars "Bongo Fury" is a combined live and studio album by US experimental rock artist Frank Zappa. The original vinyl version was released in October 1975 by Discreet Records but "Bongo Fury" saw a CD re-release in 1995 through Rykodisc. "Bongo Fury" is the last Frank Zappa album where his band was listed as The Mothers.

The 7 live tracks on the album were recorded on May 20 & 21, 1975 at the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, Texas and features among others Frank Zappa´s old friend Captain Beefheart on harmonica, harp and vocals. The two studio tracks ( "200 Years Old" and "Cucamonga") were recording during the same January 1975 sessions that spawned most of the material that was used on "One Size Fits All (1975)" and "Studio Tan (1978)". The intro to "Muffin Man" is also a studio recording while the rest of the song is from the concert in Austin. The live tracks introduce new drummer Terry Bozzio while the two studio tracks feature Chester Thompson on drums.

The album features a rather mixed bag of songs. The opening avant garde rocker "Debra Kadabra" and the heavy closing track "Muffin Man" are the highlights here for me. The solo that closes the latter is fantastic IMO. Both "Carolina Hard-Core Ecstasy" and "Advance Romance" are Zappa "classics", but while the vocal harmonies and the intricate details in the former and the guitar solo and the funny lyrics in the latter are pretty great, neither of those tracks are among my favorites by Zappa. The two prose readings "Sam With the Showing Scalp Flat Top" and "Man With the Woman Head" by Captain Beefheart are quite entertaining, but they are also quite short and I might not have enjoyed them had they been much longer. The rest of the songs are good but not excellent.

The musicianship is as always outstanding. The added raw vocals by Captain Beefheart is a real treat but the rest of the band are also extremely well playing. The album features both avant garde/ experimental rock and blues rock. Both styles are handled with ease by the band.

The production is organic and powerful, suiting the music well.

"Bongo Fury" is a good release by Frank Zappa and a few tracks even reach excellence, but overall it´s not among the best releases by Zappa IMO. A 3.5 star rating is warranted.

UMUR | 3/5 |

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