ARTIST: JULIAN’S TREATMENT
TITLE: A TIME BEFORE THIS
LABEL + YEAR: Decca DL 75224; 1970 US 1st Press
CONDITION VINYL: Excellent
CONDITION SLEEVE: Excellent with slight crease to top right corner, no splits & nice and clean
DESCRIPTION: Side 1: FIRST ORACLE; THE COMING OF THE MULE; PHANTOM CITY; THE BLACK TOWER; ALDA, DARK LADY OF THE OUTER WORLDS; ALTARRA, PRINCESS OF THE BLUE WOMEN. Side 2: SECOND ORACLE; Pt.1 TWIN SUNS OF CENTAURI; Pt.2 ALKON, PLANET OF CENTAURI; THE TERRAN; FOURTH FROM THE SUN; STRANGE THINGS; A TIME BEFORE THIS.
Julian's Treatment is yet another forgotten and obscure gem of progressive and psychedelic rock. Not very often does a sci-fi author involve himself with music. Michael Moorcock's involvement with Hawkwind is one of the best examples. And Julian Jay Savarin is another author who involved himself in music, with this band Julian's Treatment. Savarin played the organ and he had an Australian named Cathy Pruden to handle the vocals, with some other guys to handle the guitar, bass, drums, and flute (no liner notes were included, unfortunately).
A Time Before This, released in 1970, was the one and only album by this band (Savarin released an album under his own name called Waiters on the Dance, which varying sources say was released in 1969, 1971, or 1973). Unsurprising, the album is a sci-fi concept album, a bit difficult for me to follow when a lyric sheet wasn't even included, but it seems to involve the destuction of the Earth in which a Terran ends up on a planet inhabited by strange, blue-skinned people, and an evil megalomaniac. Musically, it's late '60s sounding psychedelic with progressive rock with great spacy organ and a cosmic feel to the whole album. Great female vocals as well with the occasional spoken dialog. Highlights include "Phantom City", "The Black Tower", "Altarra, Princess of the Blue Women", "Twin Suns of Centauri", "Alkon, Planet of Centauri", "The Terran", "Fourth From the Sun", and "Strange Things".
An early British art-rock band, Julian's Treatment released an ambitious, if overreaching, concept album (A Time Before This) in 1970. The idea of keyboardist and leader Julian J. Savarin (who wrote all of the material) was to construct an opera of sorts around an Atlantis-like lost civilization of sorts. Presented in twelve chapters, the idea went something like this: the last surviving Earthman comes to the planet Alkon, where he crosses paths with Altarra, who according to the liner notes is "the embodiment of all womanhood." That's enough to preclude this album from receiving any sort of revisionist criticism from most historians. If you don't care about the pretensions of the concept, and are just in the market for some interesting overlooked progressive rock, you may well want to give it a listen. Built around glistening keyboard lines, the songs have a perky, driving bounce that is rather atypical for the genre. The strong female vocals (by Australian Cathy Pruden, living in London at the time), kind of reminiscent of a less piercing Annisette (of Savage Rose), are also a nice change of pace for the prog-rock world.
Savarin was planning to make three albums with Julian's Treatment that would comprise three installments of a science fiction trilogy. However, by the end of 1970, Julian's Treatment had broken up. Part two of this trilogy (Waiters on the Dance), credited to just to Julian J. Savarin, came out in 1973, with bassist John Dover the only other musician remaining from the Julian's Treatment lineup, although the record did feature a female vocalist, Jo Meek. Savarin then retired from the recording business to concentrate upon a career as a novelist. ~ Richie Unterberger, All Music Guide