Bongo Fury review by Frank Zappa

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  • Released: Oct 2, 1975
  • Sound: 10
  • Lyrics: 9
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.7 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.3 (13 votes)
Frank Zappa: Bongo Fury
2

Sound — 10
Frank Zappa's "Bongo Fury" (released in 1975) gets more into the bluesier side of Zappa. This album is a collaboration with Captain Beefheart, with Beefheart adding two of his own songs, "Sam With The Showing Scalp Flat Top", and "Man With The Woman Head". Zappa's band is no slouch either, including but not limited to George Duke, Bruce Fowler, Tom Fowler, and Terry Bozzio. The live songs on this album are great, although "Debra Kadabra" does go into realms of Beefheart oddness. "Carolina Hard-Core Ecstasy", "Advance Romance", and "Muffin Man" all include absolutely ripping solos though, especially the latter. There's also a cowboy song about the United States' 200th birthday (Poofter's Froth Wyoming Plans Ahead). It also includes two songs recorded in the studio, "200 Years Old", and "Cucamonga" which feature some great blues solos. All in all, Bongo Fury is another Zappa masterpiece which shows the true, Guitar Hero Zappa.

Lyrics — 9
Overall, this album's lyrics are pretty funny (were you expecting anything else?). "Debra Kadabra", (written by Frank, believe it or not) is confusing and puzzling, but includes a great, sing-along chorus. "Carolina Hard-Core Ecstasy" includes Frank's favorite topics, Groupies and Sex. Captain Beefheart's two contributions, "Sam With The Showing Scalp Flat Top", and "Man With The Woman Head" seem like obscure poems written by himself, including a reference to Louie Louie. "Poofter's Froth Wyoming Plans Ahead" tells the story of how everyone is going to use the 200th birthday of the United States to sell you all sorts of gizmos and doo-dads. Pretty funny, and done in a country style. "Advance Romance" and "200 Years Old" are two songs based on blues mythology. "Cucamonga" is a song dedicated to Zappa's childhood home, including tales of a his band practicing. Finally, "Muffin Man", includes quite hilarious lyrics, literally about the Muffin Man that works at the Utility Muffin Research Kitchen.

Overall Impression — 10
Compared to Zappa's other albums, this one contains the most guitar workouts. I would definitely recommend this one for people looking for great Zappa solos. "Muffin Man", is one of Zappa's best ever. And if you're looking to start getting into Zappa in general, this is a good album because it is quite tame compared to other ones. Frank Zappa's Bongo Fury still stand's as one of my favorites, and I believe there is something in this album for anyone to enjoy.

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    ChucklesMginty
    Thanks for this. I've been looking to listen to more Zappa but having only listened to Freak Out! and Shut up 'n play yer guitar. (sp?) I wasn't sure where to go next.
    (sic)kid
    This is my favorite Zappa album ever, mostly because of Beefheart's presence. Every track on Bongo Fury is a classic and deserves more than one listen.
    Hand Of Stone
    Any Zappa first-timers should check out all six volumes of "You Can't Do That On Stage Anymore!". Of course, in addition to the other 50+ Zappa albums.
    oands
    Good review. Even though it was short. I'd recommend Apostrophe(') or Over-Nite Sensation, even One Size Fits All as Zappa albums to start off with, Bongo Fury is a sort of mix with the atonal and more melodic Zappa stuff, to me it seems less accessible to new fans.
    dez_cole
    (sic)kid wrote: This is my favorite Zappa album ever, mostly because of Beefheart's presence. Every track on Bongo Fury is a classic and deserves more than one listen.
    I completely agree with you. I highly recommend this album to anyone who likes music.
    BobChicken
    dez_cole wrote: (sic)kid wrote: This is my favorite Zappa album ever, mostly because of Beefheart's presence. Every track on Bongo Fury is a classic and deserves more than one listen. I completely agree with you. I highly recommend this album to anyone who likes music.
    totally =]