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Frank Zappa - Bongo Fury CD (album) cover


Frank Zappa



3.56 | 224 ratings

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3 stars Featuring the grizzled lunacy of one Don Van Vliet, otherwise and more famously referred to as Captain Beefheart, this semi-live offering - which features a smattering of studio-recorded material for good measure - is most notable for featuring one of the most endearing Zappa compositions in the shape of the glorious 'Muffin Man', a deliciously(geddit?) crazy track that combines all the trademark Zappa ingredients to dazzling effect. Backed-up by Beefhearts croaky presence, 'Muffin Man' begins with a semi-creepy, semi-ludicrous, all-surreal monologue from Zappa(describing his love for muffins; 'that prince of foods!'), before breaking headlong into one of the music man's most indelible guitar solos. The live arena setting only adds to the whole epic scale of the event(what a concert it must have been...!), whilst Zappa's backing band The Mothers Of Invention can also be found in fine fettle. Beefheart contributes a couple of searing monologues of his own, including a raving rant about some genuinely bizarre goings-on in some seedy Hollywood restaurant, but the real treats here lie in the genial instrumental interplay that comes as standard with a Zappa/Mothers live release(the blues- inflected 11-minute rock-opera marathon 'Advanced Romance' is a prime example). 'Muffin Man' aside, 'Bongo Fury' does have other treats on offer, with the madcap 'Carolina Hard-Core Ecstacy' the pick of the rest, and the looning '200 Years Old' providing yet more comedy gold. However, the main reason for this album's existence is surely the final track, and no amount of instrumental verve, crazed drawling or surreal nonsense can detract(or even distract) from from the near-perfect strains of one of Zappa's finest compositions. As an album 'Bongo Fury' proves patchy at best - especially when compared to the great man's many crown jewels - but a mediocre Zappa album is still well worth the cash being asked. STEFAN TURNER, LONDON, 2011
stefro | 3/5 |


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