cream of the crate album review #204: company caine – doctor chop

cream of the crate album review #204: company caine – doctor chop

 

 

   These reviews are provided to help maintain a connection with various genres of popular music extending from the 1940’s through to present time.

 

"...this album forms a fitting epitaph to one of the country's legendary bands." - [Dr. Pepper - liner notes] .. .. .. "'Dr Chop' is one of the rarest and most collectible of all Australian recordings." [Keith Glass - Lamington Records] .. .. .. "This Cd goes a long way to reminding us how excellent a group Company Caine was." - [This review]

This is album review number 204 in the series of retro-reviews of both vinyl LP’s and Cd’s, in my collection.

The series is called “Cream of The Crate” and each review represents an album from my collection that I believe is of significant musical value, either because of it’s rarity, because it represents the best of a style or styles of music or because there is something unique about the group or the music.

Links to the previous 200+ reviews can be found at the bottom of this review.

This album should be considered as an Australian rock classic.

cream of the crate album review #204: company caine – doctor chop
CD Label – [CLICK to enlarge]
The group is Company Caine and the album is titled Dr Chop.

It was originally released in May 1976 as a 9-track vinyl LP. It’s re-release in 2015 is on this CD and has the code AVSCD082.

In taking the opportunity to re-release the Dr Chop album, those involved have also taken the opportunity to provide us with an additional nine bonus tracks.

These alone would have made this album worth purchasing but to provide an album by Company Caine that contains 18 tracks is indeed, a gift!

The story of its re-release is almost worthy as a book itself but suffice to say that more than ten people can hold their heads high.

cream of the crate album review #204: company caine – doctor chop
Album credits – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

The music info site Milesago lists four distinct membership lineups of the group:

1970
Ray Arnott (drums) (Mar-July?)
Eric Cairns (drums) (Jul-Sept?)
Clif Edwards (bass)
Eli Klamm (Jeremy Noone) (sax)
Tim Partridge (bass) (Sept-?)
Gulliver Smith (vocals)
Russell Smith (guitar)
Tom Watts (drums)(?)

1971
Mitch Burns (sax)
Clif Edwards (bass) studio only
Arthur Eizenburg (bass)
Bernie McGann (sax)
John “Ernie” McInerny (drums)
Ian Mawson (keyboards)
Russell Smith (guitar)
Jeremy Noone (sax)
Gulliver Smith (vocals)
Russell Smith (gtr)
Trevor Wilson (bass)

cream of the crate album review #204: company caine – doctor chop
Company Caine – 1971 [CLICK to enlarge]

 

1972
Mal Capewell (sax, flute)
Mitch Burns (sax)
Dave Kane (guitar)
Ray Findlay (bass)
Gulliver Smith (vocals)

1975
Alan Britton (bass)
Jeff Burstin (guitar)
 (drums) * Milesago has him listed incorrectly as Geoff Burstin
Jeremy Noone (sax)
John Power (bass)
Gulliver Smith (vocals)
Russel Smith (guitar)
Shirley Smith (vocals)

The group still remains somewhat of an enigma to most Australians, largely because they failed, for whatever reason, to properly be recognised.

That recognition should include the amazing list of musicians that played in it, many of them highly recognised in their own right.

They rarely failed to entertain and in many ways maybe it is right that they retain their ‘cult” status – but on the other hand, as this album attests, they generated such wonderful music and, on stage were highly entertaining.

cream of the crate album review #204: company caine – doctor chop
Booklet plate – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

In the liner notes, David pepperell (aka Dr. Pepper) wrote – “They were one of the best live playing bands we’ve ever had. I don’t think anyone else played as well as they did.

Jeremy playing sax was genius; Russell was an amazing guitar player, Gully was a wonderful singer, his lyrics were brilliant.

So having a sax player with the guitar / keyboards combination, there wasn’t any other band like them.

Spectrum approached them.

They were just a bit too good for their time. You could call them a prog band.

They reminded me of UK bands like family, Van der Graaf Generator, King Crimson; Company Caine could play like that.”

The story of the band and their music over their all too short life is a story that should be told in full.

In late 1972 the band folded.  Gulliver Smith revived Company Caine in 1975 and it survived until 1976, during which time this album, Dr Chop was produced.

cream of the crate album review #204: company caine – doctor chop
Rear Cover with track listing – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

So what I have done is to pulled out four tracks from the actual Doctor Chop album and then two of the nine bonus tracks.

Track 1 is Doctor Chop.

Being the “introduction card” to the album makes it a candidate but when its also the title track – then that settled it.

cream of the crate album review #204: company caine – doctor chop
Booklet plate – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

Make no mistake this track is commercially focused, almost a pop tune.  Its opening refrain immediately took me back to the style of music from the 6’0’s, that often came out of the Brill Building.

But that’s as far as it goes on that level, as it then breaks into a very Caribbean feel thanks to the fantastic percussion before we return to the “Woo woo’s”

I struggled to try and make sense of the lyrics but felt relief when Co.Caine guitarist Russell Smith says “Yeh, ‘Doctor Chop’ . . . . that’s a strange song.

I mean lyrically, I don’t know what Gulliver was thinking there. It’s a good song musically but it is strange.”

Dr. Chop medicine shop
Sew you up and the pain stops
Young nurse says Dr’s curse
Is a fat purse could get worse

Can you help me with this desire
It feels like my heart is on fire
Can you help me if ya dare
I want tender loving care
I want tender loving care

Sister Stake with the heart ache
Make a mistake she got the shakes
You get no wrists with slipped discs
Or specimens what about lovin’?

Dr. Chop medicine shop
I been waitin’ since 4
She don’t love me no more

Hell, you work it out!

Doctor Chop

Track 3 – Now I’m Together.

Sorry, but I can’t help feeling that if the track wasn’t influenced a little by what Ross Wilson did with Sons Of A Vegetal Mother, then it must have been Frank Zappa.

That opening is so cool – musically and lyrically.

Any track that opens with – “I used to be a skinhead” should grab you immediately. i mean just where do you go after being a skinhead.

cream of the crate album review #204: company caine – doctor chop
Booklet plate: Gulliver Smith – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

One thing about the group, and I say this without being derogatory, is that these guys had enjoyed their craft!

This is “fun-rock” and the track was on the other side of the final single release in 1972, where it was backed up against Dear Carolyn.

cream of the crate album review #204: company caine – doctor chop
[CLICK to enlarge]

Now I’m Together

By all the music gods – I am at the end of what was side 1 on the original vinyl LP, and I’m about to look at the 3rd of the four tracks i promised.

But I mean to say, who doesn’t like a good boogie?

Track 5 is The Golden Boogie

Let’s keep the par-tay rollin’!  This track is about as good as a pop-boogie track can get. I mean Carson were the best when it came to local Boogie, but the Company Caine boys pushed them hard with this track.

The liner notes say it’s a love song!

Hell, I was having too much of a good time bopping along to notice and, it has Ross Wilson’s finger prints all over it.

Put on them dancin’ shoes and prepare to boogie!

The Golden Boogie

Damn – four tracks left and I have to pick one.

The interesting thing about the last four tracks from the original album is, they were all recorded live. In this case at the Dallas Brooks Hall on September 3rd 1975.

You want a measure of just how good a group is . . . . record them live, out of the controlled environment of the studio – into the live atmosphere of the crowds where everything you do is in real-time, and that includes all your mistakes.

Not many of those with these tracks.

Track  8 – Heard The Word.

Hang on . . . isn’t this the opening refrain from the Kinks “You Really Got Me”?

Could be, but before your mind has time to debate this possibility Company Caine kicks the whole thing into a different universe.

cream of the crate album review #204: company caine – doctor chop
Booklet plate: Russell Smith – [CLICK to enlarge]

 

Blast off with some of the most fabulous guitar work you will hear with Smith and Burston having a one of a hell of a good time playing with, against and across each other.

Heard The Word

So we move to a live performance in April 1972 at the Rock Isle Festival – Mulwala. NSW.

Its track 13 – Hey George.

Downtempo compared to what we have listened to so far, while Gully provides some nice lay-back vocals, it is the band who are the stars on this track.

At a tad over 5 minutes it’s the right length for a Festival, where the audience has a chance to lay back, chill out, maybe a toke or two and be taken on a nice gently trip.

Hey George

The final track on the CD is our final track.

Track 18 – They’re Closing Down the Import Shops is as the liner notes declare – a real rarity.

Now the track is credited as far as the backing band is concerned, to The Record Bandits.

The record bandits were in fact Keith Glass, Graham Lowndes, Gully, Russell, Ernie McInerny, Shirley Smith, Jeff Burstin and John Power.

Dr. Pepper (aka David Pepperell) was supposed to contribute vocals but apparently got pissed and missed the session.

In fact David wrote the track under is pseudonym Raphael Urso (a name he would also use in his book writing).

At this time the major Australian Record Companies were hounding the small Independent Record Import shops like “Archie & Jugheads“, that was operated by Keith Glass and David Pepperell.

Despite the strange story behind the track, the even stranger composer and the fact that it was a reformed Company Caine that really provided the music, when we listen now it is a catch track, that also catches the imagination.

David is reported as saying that he thought it was a great song.

He might just be right!

They’re Closing Down The Import Shops

Finally, while Company Caine had many wonderful musicians playing in it’s far too short lifespan, there is little doubt that the “main man” was, Gulliver Smith.

What many don’t realise was that Gulliver was a child performer in the early 1960s in Melbourne. His early career consisted of covering tracks by artists from the 1950’s, such as by Chuck Berry and Larry Smith, and it is said he worked hard to imitate the style of the great Johnny Ray.

Occasionally he was a guest singer for local bands, the Thunderbirds and the Lincoln.

His career spanned the 1960’s through to the 1990’s. Sadly he died on 12 November 2014 of kidney failure.

cream of the crate album review #204: company caine – doctor chop

The story of Co.Caine is told well in both the well presented booklet that comes with this CD as well as in many other places – but the best place of all to get to know the group is through their music.

cream of the crate album review #204: company caine – doctor chop
Left hand Inner cover – [CLICK to enlarge]
cream of the crate album review #204: company caine – doctor chop
Right hand Inner cover – [CLICK to enlarge]

This Cd goes a long way to reminding us how excellent a group Company Caine was.

This CD can be purchased through AZTEC RECORDS – Click to purchase cream of the crate album review #204: company caine – doctor chop

 

 

 

cream of the crate album review #204: company caine – doctor chop


VIDEOS:

Fortunately, there are several Company Caine clips available on Youtube.

 

The Day Superman Got Busted

 

Woman Without Reason

 

It’s Up To You


Previous Cream of The Crate Albums:

 

To view/listen the first 50 vinyl album reviews just click the image below –

cream of the crate cd review #2 : robert johnson – the complete recordings

 

To view/listen the first 50 Cd album reviews just click the image below –

 

To view/listen album reviews 101 – 150 just click the image below –

 

To view/listen album reviews 151 – 200 just click the image below –

cream of the crate: album reviews #151 – 200

 

 

Click to open the following reviews covering #’s 201 onward.

#201.  The Atlantics – The Great Surfing Sounds of The Atlantics

#202.  Otis Redding – Dictionary of Soul

#203.  The Beatles – Live At The Star Club in Hamburg (1962)