Bongo Fury is a collaborative album by American artists Frank Zappa and the Mothers, with Captain Beefheart, released in October 1975. The live portions were recorded on May 20 and 21, 1975, at the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, Texas. Tracks 5, 6 and 9 (intro only) are studio tracks recorded in January 1975 during the sessions which produced One Size Fits All (1975) and much of Studio Tan (1978).

Bongo Fury
The cover of Bongo Fury, released in October 1975
Live album with studio elements by
ReleasedOctober 2, 1975
RecordedMay 20 & 21, 1975 (mostly live) & January 1975 (studio)
VenueArmadillo World Headquarters, Austin, Texas, U.S.
ProducerFrank Zappa
Frank Zappa chronology
One Size Fits All
Bongo Fury
Zoot Allures
The Mothers of Invention chronology
One Size Fits All
Bongo Fury
Playground Psychotics
Captain Beefheart chronology
Bluejeans & Moonbeams
Bongo Fury
Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller)
Professional ratings
Review scores
Christgau's Record GuideB[3]
Rolling Stone(unfavorable)[4]

History edit

In April 1975 Zappa had a one-sided demo acetate disc cut at Kendun Recorders in Burbank, California. This unreleased disc contains "Revised Music for Guitar and Low-Budget Orchestra", "200 Years Old" and "Regyptian Strut".[5] Zappa's liner notes in the June 1975 album One Size Fits All mention a planned studio follow up album which never appeared. Zappa released Bongo Fury instead. The album contains a four minute version of "200 Years Old" which was edited from the one on the April 1975 acetate.

Overview edit

The album is a notable entry in Zappa's discography, because it was the last to feature a majority of his early 1970s band, which appeared on Over-Nite Sensation (1973), Apostrophe (') (1974), Roxy & Elsewhere (1974), and One Size Fits All (1975).

Napoleon Murphy Brock's vocals are featured both on the sprawling "Advance Romance" as well as on the three-part harmonies of "Carolina Hard-Core Ecstasy". Captain Beefheart, in his only tour with Zappa's band, delivers vocals and harmonica on several tracks, including his two short prose readings "Sam with the Showing Scalp Flat Top" and "Man with the Woman Head". Bongo Fury also marks the first appearance of Terry Bozzio, who would become Zappa's featured drummer between 1975 and 1978.

Critical reception edit

Reviewing in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), Robert Christgau wrote: "This sentimental reunion album, recorded (where else?) in Austin with (what else?) additional L.A. studio work, is dismissed by Zappaphiles and 'Fhearthearts alike, but what were they expecting? Perhaps because there's a blues avatar up top, the jazzy music has a soulful integrity, and though it's embarrassing to hear the Captain deliver Frankie's latest pervo exploitations, the rest of the songs are funnier because he's singing them."[3]

Track listing edit

All tracks performed by Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart and The Mothers; all tracks composed by Zappa, except where noted. This is the last non-archival Frank Zappa album on which the band name "The Mothers [of Invention]" is used.

Side one
1."Debra Kadabra" 3:54
2."Carolina Hard-Core Ecstasy" 5:59
3."Sam with the Showing Scalp Flat Top"Don Van Vliet2:51
4."Poofter's Froth Wyoming Plans Ahead" 3:03
5."200 Years Old" 4:32
Total length:20:55
Side two
6."Cucamonga" 2:24
7."Advance Romance" 11:17
8."Man with the Woman Head"Don Van Vliet1:28
9."Muffin Man" 5:34
Total length:21:20

Personnel edit

Frank Zappa and Captain Beefheart on stage in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1975

Musicians edit

Production staff edit

  • Michael Braunstein – engineer
  • Frank Hubach – engineer
  • Kelly Kotera – engineer
  • Kerry McNabb – engineer
  • Davey Moire – engineer
  • Cal Schenkel – design
  • John Williams – photography, cover photo
  • Bob Stone – engineer
  • Mike D. Stone of the Record Plant – engineer

Charts edit

Album - Billboard (United States)

Year Chart Position
1975 Billboard 200 66[6]

References edit

  1. ^ Lowe, Kelly Fisher (2007). The Words and Music of Frank Zappa. U of Nebraska Press. p. 122. ISBN 978-0-80326-005-4.
  2. ^ a b Allmusic review
  3. ^ a b Christgau, Robert (1981). "Consumer Guide '70s: Z". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 089919026X. Retrieved March 23, 2019 – via
  4. ^ Rolling Stone review
  5. ^ "April 1, 1975—Kendun Recorders Acetate". Retrieved 2022-07-06.
  6. ^ "Charts and Awards for One Size Fits All". AllMusic. Retrieved August 22, 2008.