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Julian's Treatment

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Julian's Treatment A Time Before This album cover
3.77 | 72 ratings | 9 reviews | 17% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 1970

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. First Chapter: First Prophecy 'First Oracle' (1:30)
2. Second Chapter: 'The Coming Of The Mule' (3:53)
3. Third Chapter: 'Phantom City' (5:18)
4. Fourth Chapter: 'The Black Tower' (5:01)
5. Fifth Chapter: 'Alda, Dark Lady Of The Outer Worlds' (3:52)
6. Sixth Chapter: 'Altarra, Princess Of The Blue Women' (4:14)
7. Seventh Chapter: Second Prophecy 'Second Oracle' (1:39)
8. Eight Chapter: Part One: 'Twin Suns Of Centauri' (2:59)
9. Eight Chapter: Part Two: 'Alkon, Planet Of Centauri' (2:59)
10. Ninth Chapter: 'The Terran' (4:00)
11. Tenth Chapter: 'Fourth From The Sun' (2:48)
12. Eleventh Chapter: 'Strange Things' (4:58)
13. Twelfth Chapter: Epilogue 'A Time Before This' (8:54)

Total time 52:05

Line-up / Musicians

- Cathy Pruden / vocals
- Del Watkins / guitar, flute
- Julian Jay Savarin / organ, composer
- John Dover / bass
- Jack Drummond / drums

Releases information

Artwork: Lee Smithers and Peter Lee

2xLP Young Blood ‎- SYB 2 (1970, UK)
LP See For Miles Records Ltd. ‎- SEE 288 (1990, France) New cover art

CD Akarma ‎- AK 192 (2002, Italy)
CD Esoteric Recordings ‎- ECLEC 2039 (2008, UK) Remastered by Ben Wiseman
CD Repertoire Records ‎- REPUK 1215 (2014, UK) Remastered

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy JULIAN'S TREATMENT A Time Before This Music

JULIAN'S TREATMENT A Time Before This ratings distribution

(72 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(50%)
Good, but non-essential (28%)
Collectors/fans only (4%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)

JULIAN'S TREATMENT A Time Before This reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Proghead
4 stars Julian Jay Savarin was a British author who wrote his share of music. In the early '70s, he also involved himself in music, by applying his sci-fi know-how to lyrics and playing organ. He assembled a band called JULIAN'S TREATMENT, with him on organ, Australian-born Cathy Pruden on vocals, and a couple other guys handling the usual (guitar, bass, drums, flute). "A Time Before This" originally released in 1970 on the Youngblood label, is an interesting combination of prog and late '60s psychedelia, with spacy organ, and of course, sci-fi oriented lyrics. I've heard this band compared with everything from EARTH & FIRE to SANDROSE to The United States of America (the late '60s psychedelic electronic rock act with Joe Byrd and Dorothy Moskowitz).

"The Coming of the Mule" is an instrumental piece with guitar that sounds like it came off a FOCUS album, as well as classically-influenced organ. "Phantom City" has more of that late '60s psychedelic vibe, complete with phasing (like you hear from the Small Faces' "Itchycoo Park" or the BEATLES' "I Am the Walrus"). "The Black Tower" is a bit more laid back, showing that Cathy Pruden was truly the lady for this album. "Alda, Dark Lady of the Outer Worlds" has Pruden singing like an evil lady. "Altarra, Princess of the Blue Women" is another mellow piece, with that cosmic atmosphere. "Fourth From the Sun" has a somewhat more jazzy-bent, especially from the drum department.

Anyways, original LPs of "A Time Before This" don't exactly grow on trees, but recently, Akarma had reissued this on CD with the original artwork, in a wonderful digipak (that is, featuring miniaturized LP-type packaging), but unfortunately they forgot to give us information on who was in the band, or the lyrics to the songs. Also they wrongly give the album a 1972 copyright (perhaps 1972 was the year of the album's American release, which was released here on Decca, with a totally different cover - 1970 was the original British release on Youngblood). Anyway, this is truly a wonderful, forgotten prog/psych gem worth looking for.

Review by Ricochet
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars Julian's Treatment absorbs all the juiciness, art heaviness, kind craziness and inspirational pleasantness out of the late 60s/early 70s period, to create an album that's stunning as a complex and eurhythmic progressive rock fundamental spice, as a psychedelic (the archaic, bluesy, kaleidoscopic or hard-taunting kinds, it doesn't matter; maybe a bit neurotic as well, though you grow rather reluctant to that impression) adventure, as a hard fantasy and as a gulping powerful, dominating, yet also expressive and passioned music moment. I can't even name it a debut, not only because Julian's Treatment released only two storming and (en)chanting - without being a...(en)chant(ment) - the second being credited as Savarin's, but because it sounds just like taken from the oven, in a hot and strong taste: music with drops of dazzle, rock with hard work and special feelings smoking out of it, plus a sort of eclectic taste that can't stay like that without being called, at least, artistic. Perilously and mystifyingly, that is.

With the above euphoric paragraph concluded, I think we can put a reminder on the fact that this album, as well as Julian's Treatment itself, can't be called an easy thing up in the treasures of progressive rock, but it sure is lovely to discover, out of the depths of the genre. It's considerably far from classic prog rock, though it, complexly, belongs to that authentic time and development. In rest, it doesn't defy in styles, it only focuses on them with a compelling lush. A Time Before This is most likely the best of the two that you can adore, notable being its "Plus Version" re-release in 1990, marking how well, clairvoyant, apart from their time and taste, but also obscure and hard to prefer these guys were - mostly thanks to this epic music-gram.

A Time Before This struggles a bit, being full-bounded and complicated, with its styles and shapes, but pulls in the end a victorious mount. The most living ideas are that J'sT plays psychedelic with spae airs, without fragility and never with absurd spots, plus that it plays an untypical kind of hard prog rock, keen on caramelizing its strong roots rather than jamming with thirst. Despite these already good reflection, there is a crave for many other flavors, the most kicking one being symphonic - in fact, the first "chapter" can be called psych, but the next ones fade in favor of art rock or symphonic fantasy. Was earlier mentioning that the psych can also contour some dark blues, one that's not impressive, but neither wrong. Folk happens to break into more than the "musical story", lovely flutes arousing like jasmine contrasts, a dance occasionally breathing out melancholic emotions. A main thought will also becomes that of A Time Before This being a concept of mystic, fantastic themes, still music turns out greater. Reading that the band is using sci-fi ideas, I like to believe character like "Adia", the "Oracles" or "the Mule" are good for a story-tale or for a mythical expression. Lastly, the musicians of Julian's Treatment are ones you couldn't write enough about - very talented. Savarin seems the prog genius, but for sure Cathy Pruden is a vocalist I truly love.

With all this, A Time Before This sounds of an impeccable creativity. And, given the influences, they're one step close to having originality as well. I guess Earth & Fire, Sandrose or Rare Bird are good/fit analogies, though I've yet to find out how they sound. Pink Floyd and Omega touch some psych spots, but they're absolutely the wrong prog idols to talk about (same with the small folk being Tull-ish, this folk is beyond popular taste). As a strange thought, I hear some ELP twisted fuses and jams - instead, two pieces are convincingly close to Aphrodite's Child and 666's own rock tale, thanks to powerful narration. Ending on the same loose note, I haven't heard such dark-flavored, candle-burning moments of fantasy and improvised poetry (incantations-like) since Os Mundi, which was a long time ago. All the twelve chapters are generous and have craft, they flow intensely, they charm you possessively. It can be a fascinating world, musically adapted, if you like your prog deeper, more reaming, and close to breathless.

Highly recommended.

Review by Tom Ozric
4 stars Julian J Savarin, musician and author - I don't know much about him, but JULIAN'S TREATMENT is a name I recall seeing from my first Prog-Rock resource, the Gibraltar Encyclopedia of Prog Rock - now it's all P.A. - where those in the know offer reliable information about these long-lost underground gems, and with that I can say that 'A Time Before This' is a beauty. Conceptually, the album is a "fantasy story set in part of our galaxy, about people whom we believe live in this galaxy.... " Savarin has assembled a solid band here, a proficient rhythm section keeping the soloists on their toes with hyperactive grooves, a lass by the name of Cathy Pruden on vocals (whose singing style and voice vaguely recalls Jerney Kaagman, from Dutch proggers EARTH & FIRE), an able Guitarist with a biting attack to his playing who also knows subtlety when he switches to Flute, and Savarin himself, who knows his way around the Hammond organ, and shows off his considerable talent on the instrument. A thought came to my mind whilst listening to this - think of CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN but without the craziness. This is an extremely memorable dose of Psy-Fi oriented Prog and an excellent addition to your collection. 4/5
Review by Second Life Syndrome
3 stars Wow, what a mind trip! I can't think of any other summary for this album, really. This is one of the strangest albums I've heard in a while, either musically or thematically. On top of that, the artwork is phenomenal!

Musically, "A Time Before This" is a mix of 70s prog and psychedelic rock. Everything sounds very spacey and or mysterious. The organ and flute solos are done quite well, and they are very mystical and fantastical in their presentation. The guitars have almost a hard Hendrix feel to them, though less technical. They certainly aren't the dominant instrument, as everything works really well together. The band plays really well off of each other. Also, some really strange song structures, such as on "The Coming of the Mule", complement the music seriously. Lastly, Cathy's vocals are female to the core: very powerful with a slightly hardened edge to them, but also somewhat faint in the mix. Much of the album is instrumental, but we are blessed with her interesting vocal style often enough.

The theme here is really weird. Just strange. We get to hear all about Altarra, the blue-skinned goddess/princess and the fantasy world in which she lives and rules. Now, I don't know about you, but I like fantasy and sci-fi. But this album seems more like an acid trip talking than a serious musician or author writing lyrics. The keyboardist, Julian Savarin, was a sci-fi author, and so he wrote this compelling work of fiction from his strange imagination. The funny thing is that they work. No matter how strange this album is, it works pretty well. I wouldn't call this a masterpiece. Maybe not even excellent. But I would call it a very strong 3 star album that is worth listening to soon.

Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Julian Jay Savarin was born on the exotic island of Dominica, being of British origin, and moved to London in 1962.There he found the appropriate enviroment to reveal his talents as an organist and composer.He was in love with sci-fi stories and wrote some sort of a Rock Opera, based on an Atlantis-like lost civilization.He formed his personal band Julian's Treatment in 1970, which also comprised of drummer Jack Drummond, female singer Cathy Pruden (she was of Australian origin), bassist John Dover and Del Watkins on guitar and flute.The album ''A time before this'' came out the same year in both single- and double-vinyl issues, on Young Blood for the Euro market and on Decca for the US one.

''A time before this'' is a charming British Proto-Prog/Psychedelic Rock gem, where Savarin's mood for cosmic, jamming and atmospheric music eventually surfaces via the emerging progressive scenery, as the album is dominated by his work on Hammond organ and his tendency towards sinister MARSUPILAMI-like psych manifests and THE NICE-inspired semi-Classical piano and organ smashing.Cathy Pruden's beautiful voice adds some sort of CURVED AIR/RENAISSANCE touch to the music, although the Classical influences are rather limited and the organ-driven jams appear to be a regular commodity beween Savarin's ideas.So, what you'll get here are some long, instrumental organ-based pounds, which still contain a nice intellectual depth, lots of dreamy female voices, which sometimes turn into dramatic and crying performances, and some fantastic flute drives by Del Watkins, the man oddly will become more known for his impressive flute improvisations throughout the album than his reduced guitar chops.Concept helps the album pass through different climates, from discreet Classical preludes to powerful organ waves and from narcotic psychedelic deliveries to some harder parts with a more pronounced electric guitar.Breaks and tempo variations are strong components of Savarin's story as well as the storytelling lyrics with the 9-min. title-track summing up what this band was all about, an extended psychedelic jam on guitar, flute and Hammond organ with scratching parts and vocal-centered themes.

Very much a product of its age, which still owns a respectable place among the early-70's British Proto-Prog albums.Loads of Hammond organ, fiery grooves and some great, driving flute soloing.Recommended.

Latest members reviews

5 stars JULIAN's TREATMENT were a British band led by Julian Jay Savarin, a West Indian sci-fi writer and keyboard player born on the small island of Dominica. He moved to London in the early 1960's and formed a band, and the group recorded their first album "A Time Before This" in 1970. The twelve song ... (read more)

Report this review (#2309251) | Posted by Psychedelic Paul | Saturday, January 25, 2020 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Ready for more obscure music and SCI-FI? So here is another overlooked british treasure from 1970. The Julian's Treatment one-shot is called A Time Before, and was lead by Julian Savarin, an organ player and sci-fi writer. He's the one who wrote all the lyrics / concept and music. Symphonic ... (read more)

Report this review (#1024812) | Posted by VOTOMS | Tuesday, August 27, 2013 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Followers of Robert Heinlein, Arthur Clarke, Philip Dick and Robert Sheckley, this could be for you! Julian Savarin, musician and writer of science fiction, is the author of one of the the most striking albums of the early '70s. "A Time Before This" is an interesting "sci-fi opera" with ch ... (read more)

Report this review (#466714) | Posted by Dark Nazgul | Wednesday, June 22, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars A perfect masterpiece i listen/ed to many many times. The intelligent texts and story, combined with the gripping voice of the lady singer Cathy Pruden make it an utterly rememberable experience. First heard at a German progressive rock radio programme, i was searching for it widely for quite a lo ... (read more)

Report this review (#138245) | Posted by freed | Friday, September 14, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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