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Bongo Fury

73 customer reviews

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Audio CD, August 28, 2012
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$11.23 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 19 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

Official Release #21
Originally Released: October 1975
Produced by: FZ

Music Supplied By:
FZ: lead guitar, vocals
Captain Beefheart: harp, vocals, shopping bags
George Duke: keyboards, vocals
Napoleon Murphy Brock: sax, vocals
Bruce Fowler: trombone, fantastic dancing
Tom Fowler: bass, also dancing
Denny Walley: slide guitar, vocals
Terry Bozzio: drums,
Chester Thompson: drums (on 200 Years Old and Cucamonga)
Robert "Frog" Camarena: uncredited vocals on Debra Kadabra


1. Debra Kadabra
2. Carolina Hard-core Ecstasy
3. Sam With The Showing Scalp Flat Top
4. Poofter's Froth Wyoming Plans Ahead
5. 200 Years Old
6. Cucamonga
7. Advance Romance
8. Man With The Woman Head
9. Muffin Man

Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 28, 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Zappa Records
  • ASIN: B008I34YFS
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (73 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,269 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 41 people found the following review helpful By BigBadAzz on July 26, 1998
Format: Audio CD
This live Zappa album, featuring the added talents of avant-garde/psychedelic jazz/beat poet guru Captain Beefheart, is indescribably excellent. Zappa's band lay a lush bluesy backdrop to his and the Captain's abstract lyricism, and the performances as a whole are absolutely gorgeous. "Carolina Hardcore Ecstasy" will sweep you off your feet, while one of my faves "Poofter Froth Wyoming Plans Ahead" will have you in fits of laughter and amazement over the ingenious rhyming and intonation of the Captain. This joint effort is a mammoth merging of Zappa's raging musical hormones with Beefhearts outerworldly illogic, culminating in THE perfect encore - "Muffin Man", which has to be heard to believed. Who else but Zappa would stop in the middle of a song's prologue, claiming to have gotten a phrase wrong, and try it again, with the results sounding as professional as ever? This is the kind of offbeat stuff that makes die-hard Zappa maniac-pe! rsons like myself treasure the antics contained within Bongo Fury ever more. Highly recommended.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Gavin Wilson on April 20, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Due to a dispute between Beefheart's label (Virgin) and Zappa's, this album was never released in the UK as an LP, so we had to buy it as an expensive import. Fortunately Zappa cleared up the problem when he bought the rights to all his recordings in preparation for CD re-mastering.
It is a strangely operatic masterpiece -- the horns, the poetic ramblings by Beefheart, the multiple taunting voices and the narrative structure of live songs such as 'Debra Kadabra' and 'Caroline Hard-core Ecstasy' give the album the qualities of a modern-day opera.
Much of Zappa's own comments are directed at the prevailing commercialism of the time -- for the forthcoming 1976 bicentennial celebrations -- which would seem trivial today.
On the first few listens, the stand-out track, musically, is the 'Muffin Man', a straightforward rock tune with a great solo. But flip back a couple of tracks and you soon discover that the brilliancy on the album is 'Advance Romance', where another of Zappa's discoveries, Denny Whalley, provides a fantastic slide guitar solo.
I've enjoyed this more than any other Zappa album in the 25 years I've known it, although I might be persuaded to admit that 'Hot Rats' is the greater masterpiece.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By William Jens Jensen VINE VOICE on November 10, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I bought this recording back when "Bongo Fury" was first released. I eventually wore out the vinyl. Then I bought a cassette version, which I also wore out by the mid-'90s. The CD should last longer. Zappa and Beefheart seem to bring out the best in each other. The performance captured here is better than anything I've heard from Zappa (except for maybe "Freak Out!" and "Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar"). And it's up there with the best of Beefheart's records, though I admit to being a big fan of the Captain's later work such as "Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)" and "Ice Cream for Crow." Although this live performance was a sort of "celebration" of America's bicentennial, it still holds up...things really haven't changed all that much. This is great in-your-face stuff. There are no losers on this CD, with "Sam With The Showing Scalp Flat Top" and "Poofter's Froth Wyoming Plans Ahead" being my favorites. Get it and see what all the excitement is about!

HOWEVER: The sound quality of this CD is one of the poorest I've ever heard. It clearly wasn't remastered but sounds like it was copied from an old cassette copy. Even my own CD copied from my old cassette sounds better! This CD version has no bottom end and has so much high end that the cymbals seem to hiss in the speakers. If this album ever gets a decent remaster treatment, I'll buy it again.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Mike VINE VOICE on April 4, 2007
Format: Audio CD
This one's a real rarity in the FZ catalog for a number of reasons, the first and most obvious one being the partnership with Donnie Van V...the Captain. More important, however, is the rare hit and miss ratio of two of Zappa's trademark styles, those being comedy and no-nonsense, end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it guitar solos. In many of Franks' releases, one style ultimately wins out over the other...the comedy is top-heavy or it's an afterthought. Not here. This is Zappa's L.A. Pachuco doo-wop humor married to some of the most talented musicians he ever assembled under one roof. In addition to Frank's own fretboard pyrotechnics, we get Denny Walley on slide guitar. Add Napoleon Murphy Brock, George Duke, and Terry Bozzio and you have one of the greatest all-time "stamina" bands. I saw the Berkeley Community Theater leg of the "Bongo Fury" tour...unfortunately, Beefheart never shared the stage with FZ, but he did perform a mighty tasty "Orange Claw Hammer." Zappa tied his hair back into a ponytail and proclaimed "this is SERIOUS music" as he launched into an extended, brutal "Black Napkins." Brock prowled and stomped and roamed the stage like a werewolf under a full moon, honking brilliant solos from his sax. The same power is found on "Bongo Fury." In "Advance Romance," Zappa invites the Armadillo World Headquarters audience to "look what she did to Denny right now," as rips a beautifully aggressive solo, which blends into a firestorm from Zappa himself. In "Muffin Man"...well, what can I say? As impossible and ridiculous as it might be to attempt a "10 best FZ solos of all time" list, if you COULD, there'd have to be room for this one. From the "Mr. Tambourine Man" reference in "Debra Kadabra" to the interspersed weirdness of Captain Beefheart, this is one of the richest, most complex, most rewarding FZ albums of all time. If you are a fan of "Guitar Frank," grab this one.
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