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