Julian Jay Savarin: Waiters on the Dance (1971)
Julian Jay Savarin is better known as a sci-fi author, but for a short time, he involved himself in music. He first founded a band called Julian’s Treatment, which was a progressive rock band with lots of ’60s psychedelic overtones. They released an album called A Time Before This (which I have reviewed here on this site), but the group then broke up, with female vocalist Cathy Pruden apparently returning to her native Australia. Julian then recorded that followup to A Time Before This, called Waiters on the Dance, this time under his own name. This time, he recruited ex-Catapilla vocalist Lady Jo Meek. Contrary to popular belief, Lady Jo Meek is not Anna Meek, Jo was Anna’s sister. So there’s no such person as a Lady Anna Jo Meek, as I have often seen in many other reviews of Waiters on the Dance (I should know, because my copy of Catapilla’s self-entitled debut is the 1993 German CD reissue on Repertoire, and it clearly mentioned that Jo Meek left the group to be replaced by Anna). Anna replaced Jo in Catapilla when Jo came to Julian Jay Savarin, and it was Anna who was the one that was on the two albums that group released. Others helping out were bassist John Dover, guitarist Nigel “Zed” Jenkins, and drummer Roger Odell. The album got released on the Birth label, although I hear varying sources say this album was released in 1969 (very doubtful), 1971, or 1973. 1971 sounds about right to me, although there might have been a possibility the album’s released was delayed until 1973 (if so, I’m not surprised, given how difficult it was for lesser known prog rock acts to find a label willing to release their stuff, although the Italian Akarma reissue does say 1971).
Are you a fan of Julian’s Treatement’s A Time Before This? It’s a no-brainer, you need Waiters on the Dance. It’s very much in the same style and sound, but this time around with a more aggressive, harder-edged approach, which I really like. That means I thought it was better than A Time Before This. Guitar is more dominate but Julian still uses plenty of that great organ in that same cosmic style of Julian’s Treatment! Not to mention Jo Meek sounds like Cathy Pruden with more punch (Annie Haslam is another valid comparison). “Child of the Night 1 & 2” starts off calmly enough, with mellow organ and vocals, but then the music really gets intense, with some great guitar playing from Nigel Jenkins. Mellotron pops up. “Stranger” is a short piece, with real strings (the only cut on the album with real strings, as the Mellotron is used elsewhere). “Dance of the Golden Flamingoes” is the album’s instrumental cut, demonstrating the harder-edged approach Julian favored on this album, with lots of nice changes, and some jazzy passages, and the Mellotron. “Cycle” features more great organ playing from Julian, for some reason the organ heard at the beginning reminds me of the title track to Web’s I Spider (1970) album (Web being an early British progressive rock band who changed their name to Samurai in 1971 that featured future Greenslade member Dave Lawson), but then once the female vocals kick in, it sounds like Julian’s Treatment with more punch. I really like that short, but intense bass and organ solo. The album closes with the wonderful “Soldiers of Time”, rather short, but a great way to close the album.
Too bad this was as far as Julian Jay Savarin went in his musical venture, after this he concentrated exclusively on writing novels, which he still does to this day.
This really is one of those great albums that too few know about. Original LPs of course are difficult to come by, but you can thank Akarma in Italy for reissuing this (be aware there was an early reissue of A Time Before This that included material from Waiters on the Dance as bonus cuts, although the more recent Akarma version of A Time Before This simply consisted of just that album). This album simply blew me away, and comes highly recommended.
– Julian Jay Savarin: organ, Mellotron, story, arrangements
– Lady Jo Meek: vocals
– Nigel Jenkins: guitar
– John Dover: bass
– Roger Odell: drums
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