The copy we are selling is similar to the one pictured above.
Side One: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus
Side Two: Mint Minus to Mint Minus Minus*
- This classic Zappa & Beefheart album boasts STUNNING Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound from first note to last
- This pressing is head and shoulders above the pack, with the kind of big, punchy, full-bodied sound this music absolutely demands
- Muffin Man is obviously the high point here - it's one of my All-Time Favorite songs and never fails to bring a smile
- "This is the last album to feature the highly technical jazz fusion of Mothers of Invention, whose roots can be traced back to 1973 circa Over-Nite Sensation."
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- On side two, a mark makes 10-15 light intermittent ticks at the beginning of track 3, Man With the Woman Head, followed by 20 light to moderate intermittent pops, most of which are obscured by the music.
Sometimes the copy with the best sound is not the copy with the quietest vinyl. The best sounding copy is always going to win the shootout, the condition of its vinyl notwithstanding. If you can tolerate the problems on this pressing you are in for some amazing music and sound. If for any reason you are not happy with the sound or condition of the album we are of course happy to take it back for a full refund, including the domestic return postage.
Both sides here are big, bold and lively with strong vocal presence and a big bottom end. Many copies have a tendency to get a bit gritty and grainy up top, but just listen to how smooth and sweet the cymbals sound here.
Some of this album is recorded live and some of it is studio material. The live tracks offer some of the best live Frank Zappa sound you will EVER hear.
The album is just plain wacky fun. You get the maximum entertainment value with this one. Muffin Man is obviously the high point -- it's one of my personal favorite Zappa tracks. This, in my opinion, is the last record Zappa made that's any good.
What the best sides of Bongo Fury have to offer is not hard to hear:
- The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
- The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1975
- Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
- Natural tonality in the midrange -- with all the instruments having the correct timbre
- Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional recording space
No doubt there's more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.
This vintage DiscReet pressing has the kind of Tubey Magical Midrange that modern records rarely even BEGIN to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it sure isn't showing signs of coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to "see" the performers, and feeling as if you are listening live to the band, this is the record for you. It's what vintage all analog recordings are known for -- this sound.
If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it -- not often, and certainly not always -- but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds.
What We're Listening For on Bongo Fury
- Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
- The Big Sound comes next -- wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
- Then transient information -- fast, clear, sharp attacks for the guitars, horns and drums, not the smear and thickness common to most LPs.
- Tight, note-like bass with clear fingering -- which ties in with good transient information, as well as the issue of frequency extension further down.
- Next: transparency -- the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the players.
- Then: presence and immediacy. The vocals aren't "back there" somewhere, way behind the speakers. They're front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would have put them.
- Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing -- an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.
Mint Minus Minus is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)
Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of later pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don't have the vintage analog magic that is a key part of the appeal of these wonderful recordings.
If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that's certainly your prerogative, but we can't imagine losing what's good about this music -- the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight -- just to hear it with less background noise.
Debra Kadabra [live]
Carolina Hard-Core Ecstasy [live]
Sam With the Showing Scalp Flat Top [live]
Poofter's Froth Wyoming Plans Ahead [live]
200 Years Old
Advance Romance [live]
Man With the Woman Head [live]
Muffin Man [live]
Bongo Fury captures Captain Beefheart aka Don Van Vliet with Frank Zappa during their brief reunion for a series of shows in the spring of 1975. This album is a pastiche of both live performances -- taken from two evenings at the Armadillo World Headquarters in Austin, TX -- and studio recordings that were almost a year-and-a-half old.
This is the last album to feature the highly technical jazz fusion of Mothers of Invention, whose roots can be traced back to 1973 circa Over-Nite Sensation. The live portions are highlighted by the latest addition to the band -- frenetic percussionist extraordinaire Terry "Ted" Bozzio, who would stay with Zappa for a majority of the '70s. Most Zappa enthusiasts either love or hate Bongo Fury. [We love it.]
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