Tim Hollier "best of..." reviews

from Vernon Joynson's "Tapestry of Delights" CDRom edition (by Neil Murray)

One of the period's more distinctive singer-songwriters, Hollier usually co-wrote his songs, principally with Rory Fellowes. The songs explore isolation, nature, time, ancient landscapes and the world of dreams, but there are also a few pretty love songs. His fine voice blends well with John Cameron's orchestral arrangements. Such serious lyrical fare is uplifted by touches of woodwind and harp, conveying mystery and wonder rather than depression or fear...

from Sweet Floral Albion webzine n° 35 - issued December 2004 (by Paul Cross)

Tim Hollier has, until now, remained a cult artist, beloved of a few but unknown to the many. He made some superb music, some of which is comparable to David McWilliams' orch.-folk, but is infinitely superior to it. Some of it is vocal/acoustic guitar folk minimalism, but a lot - thanks mostly to the arrangements/productions of the masterful John Cameron- is fuller and beautifully lush. Of the highlights on this CD (all taken from Tim's first three albums: 'Message To A Harlequin', 'Tim Hollier' and 'Skysail'), we must mention 'Message To A Harlequin' (the song) starts off in a folk idiom then rises to high-flying pop. It is pure magic! 'Do You Remember When' has a wonderfully over-the-top production. The trippy 'And Where Were You That Morning Mr. Carroll'. Hearing this again after not hearing it for ages came as a revelation to me. I always thought that it was like Calum Bryce's 'Lovemaker' (as is Tim's equally sublime 'Hanne' - pronounced 'Hannah', not included here), but it is so much more and so much better than 'Lovemaker'! It is a truly marvellous track and if you love 'Fading Yellow' then you'll adore this, if you love UK Psych Pop you will worship this! I am not over-stating thing by calling it a masterpiece of Alice-inspired psych-folk-pop. That it has remained unappreciated this long is a miracle, but a sad one. Luckily, this CD rectifies that matter. 'Full Fathoms Five' is another gem; baroque pop with tablas and lyrics by a certain Mr. W. Shakespeare. 'In Silence' is majestic folk-pop, with another OTT production. These tracks are all taken from Tim's debut, produced by Ray Singer, and featuring musical help from Herbie Flowers and David & Jonathan. Whilst the following, come from Tim's second, self-titled album: 'Seagull's Song' is superior folk-rock in a rather stoned groove. 'Evolution' is a great version of the Amory Kane song, with lots of flute, and tasty up-front rhythm track. And we must not forget the drone-filled 'Evening Song' and the suitably weird 'Tenderly Stooping Low'.
This package contains a selection of lyrics, a discography and detailed resumé of Tim's career, and a strong selection of material.

from Rockerilla - issued January 2005 (by Enrico Ramunni)

...Hollier rivela una scrittura prevalentemente acustica che parte dal folk moderno, sulla scia di Nick Drake e Donovan ma anche di poeti americani come Tom Rapp e perfino il Tim Buckley degli esordi. La sua opera più riuscita è sicuramente l'eponimo secondo disco del 1970, che viene qui riproposto quasi nella sua interezza ...in alcuni pezzi compare una chitarra elettrica, tanto che la bellissima 'It's Happening to Her' evoca il suono dei Trees, ed un flauto dolce dal timbro grezzo ed efficace dona intense vibrazioni a 'Seagull's Song', 'Evolution' e 'Maybe You Will Stay' (che un po' richiama il mood elisabettiano degli Amazing Blondel). Il finale psichedelico di 'Evening Song' ribadisce che i soli brani di 'Tim Hollier' già valevano l'acquisto del CD, e non può certo guastare l'aggiunta di sette tracce dal debutto di "Message to a Harlequin" (un lavoro acustico con buoni inserti orchestrali, che su 'And Where Were You That Morning Mr. Carroll' sono in sintonia con i Love di Forever Changes) o di sei brani da "Skysail" del '71, anche se appesantite dagli arrangiamenti zuccherini di John Cameron ...tra cui il cupo e malsano 'Tenderly Stooping Low', è decisamente il migliore del lotto...

from the Unbroken Circle website - (by Mark Coyle, December 2004)

...His albums are folk based in structure and the foundation of instrumentation but like early Al Stewart or Donovan are then merged with orchestral and pop music instrumentation in a mixture of chamber music and psychedelia that was only ever made back in that era. His songs are quite soft studies of people and places in a quite soft, gently probing style in a post 'Eleanor Rigby' kind of way. They remind of Pearls Before Swine, the 'Teenage Opera' work by Mark Wirtz, Arthur Lee Harper, Duncan Browne's first album and the afore mentioned Al Stewart's early work. Like Arthur Lee Harper there is a whimsical, almost Victorian quality to the song writing that makes it sound somewhat other worldly (or certainly of another time). ... I felt on listening that the strongest, most personal material comes from the first album and whilst all are strong the stamp of identity comes through like many artists strongest on their first works. ... On the first album there are clear influences from psychedelia in the woozy, dream like songs and arrangements that add the requisite 'wyrdness' that we search so much for. First track 'Listen to the Harlequin' starts like early chamber-folk Tim Buckley, poised and stately then evolves to include more pop-rock elements sounding uncannily like The Herd at points on 'From The Underworld' (a huge hit in 1968). 'Full Fathoms Five' is the out-there classic on here with Celtic sounding harps (with added echo), reverbed vocals, flute, acoustic guitar and a genuinely light-psychedelic feel. 'Llanstphan Hill' is more stripped back towards a simple traditional folk sound and sounds all the stronger for it, like Donovan's simpler tracks. 'And It Happened To Her' sounds like mid-60s folk-rock Byrds, a style approximated on a few tracks. 'Evolution' gets towards a flute-led West Coast folk-rock style whilst 'Would I Sing' has subtle sitar and sounds very US in style. "Love Song' has a circling descending chord structure that reminds of Love's 'Orange Skies', an influence that pops up a few times in merging pop and folk together. 'Skysail' is quite lovely, with harps plucked like a child's lullaby "'Beauty Of The garden' has a forlorn cor-anglais horn and chamber style strings that is interesting. Last song 'While London's Days Increase' harks back to Tim Buckley in the use of voice but with it's typically late 60s feeling (even though it was 1971) it evokes some sort of forgotten London film of youngster's running away to the city, looking at the faded second hand glamour through shop windows of the last decade's Carnaby Street fashions and Soho decadence. ...

Shindig - January 2005 (by Paul Martin)

This is possibly the first anthology that Tim Hollier has enjoyed. His 1968 Message To The Harlequin album has been picking up admirers from across various sixties genres as has his second self-titled album. ... the first seven are taken from his debut. This album has garnered plaudits not least because of its delicious orchestration. It sits comfortably alongside early Peter Sarstedt, Duncan Browne and Nick Garrie. ... Co-written with friend Rory Fellowes (who wrote the lyrics, whilst Hollier wrote the music), all seven cuts are wonderous lightweight orch-pop. On the ten tracks culled from the second album, the orchestration is far less prevalent and the acoustic guitar more dominant. Perhaps somewhat more folky and less instantly likeable, these cuts are nonetheless highly enjoyable. Tracks 18-23 are from the 1971 Skysail album which sees a return to a more orchestrated approach (at least on the tracks chosen here) and has to some extent an updated Harlequin feel to it. More singer-songwritery than its predecessor, Skysail achieves a maturity in both the execution and delivery of the songs which implies a much advanced confidence. ... Folkies, orch-poppers and singer-songwriter acolytes will find plenty to enthuse about here.

Islas De Robinson - Enero 2005

Un disco precioso que recoge un montón de canciones de los tres primeros discos de este cantautor folkie británico, publicados a finales de los 60-principios de los 70. Muy buenas canciones arropadas de forma mágica por los intrumentos y la voz directa de Tim Hollier. Es ese Folk-Rock británico de aquellos años que iba un paso más allá (Donovan, Nick Drake, John Martyn...). Otro descubrimiento que bien merece la pena.

Singer Song Writers - 2005 (by Gerald VanWaes)

This is a wonderful reissue of 24 all classic songs from Tim Hollier, compiled from his first three albums recorded between 1969 and 1971. One could place him somewhere between the earliest Tim Buckley, Pearls Before Swine, Perry Leopold and perhaps someone like David Wiffen or so. His voice is beautiful and mature, the songs sound terrific. The arrangements are perfect and beautiful. They are partly orchestrated, sometimes delicate, like a Pearls Before Swine and sophisticated, or with 60's psychpop group, or very arranged in a time when arrangements really made such songs blossom...

Record Collector - April 2005 (by Mike Barnes)

Since its emergence in the 60s. the craft of the singer/songwriter has allied the ancient tradition of the troubadour to the musical tastes of the day. This is demonstrated on this opening track of this best-of collection, Message To A Harlequin, where Hollier's vocals and guitar are swathed in reverbed voices, groovy drums, cello, xylophone and flutes, giving some psychedelic pizzazz to the song: this was 1968 after all. There's a distinct overleap here with Tim Buckley's music and vocal style, on Goodbye And Hello, and also Larry Beckett's rococo lyrics on that record. Hollier and his own lyricists - Rory Fellowes in particular - erred towards the florid, cod-mystical verse that was de rigueur at the time, although And Where Were You That Morning Mr.Carroll? is a delightful piece of whimsy set to a great tune. ...the quality in these 23 songs hints that if Hollier, now in the music publishing, had got the right breaks, his solo career might have lasted much longer than 1971.

Heaven Pop Magazine - March, 2005 (by Pieter Wijnstekers )

...a compilation from the 3 albums that Hollier made between 1968 and 1971 for far from obscure labels s.a. United Artists, Fontana and Philips. Resulting in over an hour's worth of beautiful music by an artist who was sadly neglected for too long a time...

All Music Guide - (by Bruce Eder)

about Tim's three original LPs:

Message to a Harlequin - A hauntingly beautiful debut, Message to a Harlequin has Tim Hollier working in a restrained yet elegantly produced folk-pop mode, almost pre-Raphaelite in the manner of Duncan Browne's Give Me Take You. John Cameron's arrangements, far more ornate than his work during the same period for Donovan, sometimes bury Hollier's acoustic guitar and drench his solo singing voice in choral accompaniment. The songs themselves were probably strong enough to stand on their own a bit better, but the results are still eminently listenable, resembling a folk-based equivalent to the kind of highly produced psychedelic pop/rock of the period

Tim Hollier - A stripped-down album compared to its predecessor, Tim Hollier's self-titled second album is filled with pleasant, catchy folk-based tunes, with Hollier's acoustic guitar much more in the foreground and most of the songs loaded to overflowing with memorable hooks that are fully exploited in Hollier's singing and the various guitar parts.

Sky Sail - This beautifully produced, elegant, and tastefully arranged album finally shows off Tim Hollier's voice to best advantage, with no more than a few backing instruments — flute, tabla, and celeste stand out most prominently — supporting his basic guitar and vocals. Filled with beautiful songs and gorgeous sounds, Sky Sail is Hollier's magnum opus, somewhere between Duncan Browne and Justin Hayward.


about our Night Wings compilation:

This CD contains what is arguably the best of Tim Hollier's output across his first three LPs, for United Artists, Fontana, and Philips. The material ranges from the late-'60s album Message to a Harlequin, with its ornate and often nearly enveloping accompaniment, to the leaner and more restrained early-'70s sounds of Tim Hollier and Sky Sail. Hollier at times sounds like Duncan Browne and at other times like a more melodious rival to Donovan, even utilizing the same arranger, John Cameron, used by Donovan on his early psychedelic folk albums. The sound is excellent and the annotation is very thorough, and the collection is a beautiful artifact of a period in which folk music intersected with psychedelia.

Ugly Things - August 2005 (by Erik Bluhm)

...Often mis-touted as a bona fide "psych folk virtuoso," in reality Hollier deserves credit for his more "delicate" charms. ... Following the treacly path blazed by his countrymen Cat Stevens, Paul Jones, and even Richard Harris, Hollier seems best at setting an atmosphere inducive to, shall we say, "mystical romance and its aftermath." ... From his debut, the previously mentioned Message, we're treated first to the title track, a hauntingly orchestrated faux-early music anthem. The same goes for "And Where Were You That Morning Mr. Carroll," with its nice proto-groovy bass work, Leslie-effects, and "heavy" organry. "Seagull's Song," which starts off the selections from his second record, continues the trend, with echoey flute passages and a soul-searching rap about Icarus. By the time he recorded his third record, Skysail, Hollier was pulling out all the stops in his quest for tail, including the use of vaguely-Indian percussion and heavily Al Stewart-influenced song titles like "While London's Days Increase."...