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Bonfire Bonfire Goes Bananas album cover
3.36 | 33 ratings | 7 reviews | 9% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1975

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Delirium (3:14)
2. Contrast (5:10)
3. Vuurstaal(Part 2) (3:10)
4. Chinese in Europe(Part 1) (3:17)
5. Circle (6:29)
6. The Sage of the Running Nose (18:50)
a) Running Nose
b) Cabaret
c) Third Eye
d) Cabaret Again
e) Running Nose II
Bonus Track:
7. Contrast (Single Version) (3:38)
8. Circle (Single Version) (2:48)
9. There's Always a Reason (Previously unrelease demo Track) (5:16)
10. Ohne Wort (Previously Unrelease demo Track) (5:14)

Total Time: 57:32

Line-up / Musicians

Tracks 1-8:
- Frank Witte / Fender Rhodes, vibes, grand piano, recorders
- Kees Den Hoed / bass, gong
- Eugene Den Hoed / guitars, flute
- Cees Meerman / drums, windchimes

Tracks 9-10:
- Frank Witte / keyboards, vocals
- Harald Heynen / guitar
- Michel Van Schie / bass
- Jaap De Weyer / drums

Releases information

CD Belle Antique 9468 Re-released (1994)
CD Pseudonym CDP-1016-DD (1994)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to b_olariu for the last updates
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BONFIRE Bonfire Goes Bananas ratings distribution

(33 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(9%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(45%)
Good, but non-essential (33%)
Collectors/fans only (12%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

BONFIRE Bonfire Goes Bananas reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Sagichim
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Home alone!

While other progressive bands like Focus, Finch or Supersister are pretty well known in the prog world, and have been already reviewed or discussed, Bonfire never gets mentioned and are shoved somewhere behind all those bands for no good reason, and that's a shame. So...Bonfire was an all instrumental prog rock dutch band that only released one album in 1975 with the cool title ' Bonfire Goes Bannanas' . Although not as popular this album have been reissued on cd with the addition of some bonus tracks, giving Bonfire an extra push out of total obscurity. The album consists of five "short" tracks on side one and their take on a long progressive piece on side two. Like in a lot of cases the short tracks tries to capture the different styles the band is influenced by, and the long piece takes all of these influences, and fuses them together to form something new and exciting.

The band's style is jazzy, eclectic prog rock with some canterbury influences and a lot of funk too. I would say closer to Focus than Finch or Supersister. Although listed under jazz rock/fusion which absolutely does not categorize them well, the band never solo too much and the songs are more constructed than improvised if at all. Being led by keyboardist Frank Witte who uses mainly the fender rhodes, the band feature some great guitars all along, some are delicate and some are harder edged with some good rocky solos, the sound is never too heavy though but always eclectic and sophisticated. Rhythm section is outstanding too, bass and drums does push the music forward and the band manages to stay tight and focused all the time, execution is very good. Side one holds five tracks showing different sides of the band and some several mood changes, from rocky to jazzy to eclectic but always tight and kind of funky too, brilliant stuff really. 'Delirium' and 'Contrast' shows that side while 'Vuurstaal' sound like a song that Focus would be proud to own, personal and sensitive with beautiful flute and some good guitar fused together creating a beautiful ballad. 'Chinese in Europe(Part 1)' demonstrates how a 3 minutes track can be so interesting and progressive. Starting out with a quirky riff divided to two it goes softer, returns and then addes an instrumental short bit to conclude it, although they could easily strech it they thought it was just right like that ( it makes you wonder where is part 2 tough?). 'Circle' contains intricate rhythm and jumps from one idea to the next easily, also contain one of my favourite parts in the album, the rocky crazy guitar solo over the jazzy rocky rhythm, just terrific. Side two holds the highlight 'The Sage of the Running Nose' a complete piece that demonstrates their great writing skills, showing everything the band have and how progressive they really are, evolving from one part to the other, the piece flows perfectly taking one idea and going around it than moving to something else changing the lead instrument and bouncing between keys and guitar. With beautiful piano lines, and some good change of moods the band manages never to sound the same all the time and makes the listener up on his toes and doesn't fall into boring instrumental sections infact you can feel it's all well written. Jazzy, rocky, funky, quirky, sophisticated, invigorating it all ends after 19 minutes of pure prog rock.

The cd contains two bonus tracks that are edited single versions of 'Circle' and 'Contrast' which does not help the album,but the other two bonus tracks are featuring a totally different band, changing most of the previous line up leaving Frank Witte, the keyboard man the only original member and i guess the driving force behind the band. Those tracks shows the band moving forward and taking a more funky rocky approach while still maintaining progy edges, amazing stuff actually and a very good addition to the already good album. The band is even tighter than before incorporating a strong bass and good guitar. Vocals are added to one song and shows some humor on top of it all. I would be more than happy to see a full album from this line up as well, but it was never recorded since the band broke up in 1980 shortly after the recording of these demo songs. Shouldn't be overlooked anymore, Bonfire is an excellent addition to your prog collection don't pass it up!

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Short-lived Dutch Prog band from Bergen op Zoom.They were set up in 1974 around the leading figure of keyboardist/flutist Frank Witte and featuring also brothers Eugene den Hoed (guitar, flute) and Kees den Hoed (bass) along with drummer Cees Meerman.Bonfire recorded their only album ''Bonfire goes bananas'' from November, 18th till December, 5th 1974 at Morgan Studios in Brussels, Belgium.It was released on EMI's Dutch sublabel Bovema EMI the following year.

Side A consists of five short instrumental tracks, heavily influenced by FOCUS and with strong FINCH connections concerning the style, based on a solid Jazz background with Post-Psych inspirations around and slight touches of Classical-driven themes.Musicianship is pretty great, albeit a bit unoriginal, with a very JAN AKKERMAN-style of guitar delivery and Frank Witte being another THIJS VAN LEER wannabee.They did it pretty nice with rapid time changes and unusual breaks combined with light, melodious textures in tracks that burst a fair amount of technique and virtuosity, injected with more laid-back textures.Keyboard work is a highlight with shifting performances on electric piano, organ and synthesizers.A more expanded version of Bonfire's repertoire appears on the flipside with the 5-part instrumental opus ''The sage of the running nose''.Here the style is closer to FINCH with a tight mix of superb instrumental energy and smooth jazzy Progressive Rock, offering dramatic sections with grandiose guitar, bass and keyboards and Prog-Fusion elements in the forefront, drawing influences both from Jazz and Classical Music, eventually creating a fine, long piece of instrumental pomposity.

It seems that the group disbanded after the release of the album (which was also supported by a single) with Kees Den Hoed becoming a stable member of Pop singer Rob de Nijs's backing band and Cees Meerman collaborating with Herman Brood's Wild Romance.However in 1980 Witte launched a second yet again short-lived version of Bonfire, which recorded a 2-track demo, with a new line-up: Harald Heynen on guitar, Michel Van Schie on bass) and Jaap De Weyer on drums.These were also the only tracks recorded by Bonfire to feature some vocals, both are enclosed in the CD reissue of the album by Pseudonym along with the tracks from the band's sole single.The music remains solid and fairly progressive with more evident Fusion vibes and an updated sound akin to the 80's era, yet with impressive jazzy underlines in the guitar parts and complex synthesizer moves.The vocals though are rather cheesy and far from a welcome addition.

Things are simple.You love FOCUS, you will certainly love Bonfire as well.Instrumental Progressive Rock with jazzy overtones, delivered with energy and passion.Not original, but still warmly recommended.

Review by Mellotron Storm
3 stars BONFIRE were a Dutch band who released this sole album back in 1975. Many compare them to FINCH and FOCUS with their all instrumental high energy sound. It clocks in at around 40 minutes and besides the usual instruments we get some flute, grand piano and vibes. The keyboardist had a hand in all of the compositions. While I mention the energy they do contrast passages a lot.

"Delirium" opens with experimental sounds which is my favourite part of the album. It kicks into gear well before a minute then picks up speed from there as the drums and guitar stand out. Contrasts do continue though in this energetic opening number. "Contrast" is laid back with guitar and a relaxed beat but it kicks into an uptempo groove and these contrasts will continue. The synths sound pretty cool along with the guitar work at times, I'm not into this at the other times though. Now the flute really adds to the sound here after 3 minutes along with the vocal melodies late. Very much hit and miss for me. "Vuurstaal(Part II)" opens with piano as the guitar, bass and drums join in, flute a minute in. The guitar is emotional starting before 2 minutes then the flute returns.

"Chinese In Europe(Part I)" is annoying to start with those people talking as a lame piano melody takes over. The guitar is better but that piano melody keeps coming back(gasp). Female vocal melodies before 1 1/2 minutes and I like them a lot. Lots of intricate sounds a minute later. "Circle" is somewhat dark with sparse piano and some atmosphere. It kicks in around a minute with busy drum work and prominent guitar and piano. The intensity rises a little before 4 minutes.

"The Sage Of The Running Nose" is the almost 19 minute closer. Marching styled drums to start with guitar and bass. It then settles back with piano, vibes and flute 3 minutes in. I like the calm before 5 minutes as the brightness disappears briefly. Then we get a piano/ drum lead section which will be contrasted with the more energetic passages. I'm not big on the section starting around 13 minutes but then it settles back with guitar out front which I appreciate. Lots of piano led melodies follow right to the end.

I have a hard time with some lighter, high energy bands, it's just not my scene including FINCH but if your into this style you need to give this one a shot.

Latest members reviews

4 stars A nice and unfairly underrated album by this Dutch band. They're a quartet playing a very dynamic blend of jazzy prog, completely instrumental, with strong fusion elements and echoes from other Dutch prog bands, like Focus, for the flute presence, or Finch for the rhytmical energy. More than k ... (read more)

Report this review (#114855) | Posted by armapo | Sunday, March 11, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Bonfire is a dutch rock band that only produced one album. The music has elements that also can be found in the music of Finch and Focus. It is all instrumental and the main parts are reserved for the piano of Frank Witte (who is also the main composer) and the guitar of Eugene den Hoed (who a ... (read more)

Report this review (#76163) | Posted by Agemo | Monday, April 24, 2006 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Unfortunately the genius of especially Eugene & Frank was never captured on vinyl as it was displayed live. Or if it was, it hasn't yet been released. I'll treasure those memories of the gigis forever! Chinees in Europa used to be the biggest crowdpleaser, and in my memory it lasted at least 1 ... (read more)

Report this review (#35205) | Posted by | Saturday, June 4, 2005 | Review Permanlink

3 stars A very valid band close to Focus or Finch, very rythmical, melodical and dynamic, mixed with slower parts beautifully arranged. Some beautiful instrumental parts led by guitar, electric piano or flute. Rare vocals. If you like Focus, this is a must. ... (read more)

Report this review (#32122) | Posted by Melos | Sunday, March 13, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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