Tim Hollier— “Seagull’s Song”, “Maybe You Will Stay”: Brace for the Obscure (60s rock)! — December 26, 2021

Bruce Eder rightly says in All Music Guide that “Tim Hollier was one of the most unfairly neglected of folk-based artists to come out of late-’60s England . . . .” Eder goes on to say that:

[Hollier’s] brand of trippy, quietly elegant psychedelic folk-rock deserving an infinitely wider hearing than it got . . . . Hollier recorded his first album, Message to a Harlequin, in mid-1968; released in October of that year, it was a tremendous showcase for [his] excellent voice and challenging, psychedelic-flavored songs, elaborately produced . . . . The album — although not especially successful in England — even managed to get a U.S. release . . . . Hollier made slow progress in finding an audience over the ensuing year . . . . [H]is self-titled, self-produced second album [from which today’s two songs are taken. was released] in the summer of 1970. It failed to sell, and a year later a similar fate befell his third album, Sky Sail, released on Philips. . . . A stripped-down album compared to its predecessor, [the] self-titled second album is filled with pleasant, catchy folk-based tunes, with . . . most of the songs loaded to overflowing with memorable hooks . . . .

What got Hollier interested in music? His answer is refreshingly honest (if possibly tongue-in-cheek):

As a snotty 15 year old, playing Apache at
Frizington Veterans Club was the best way to meet girls – but they were the days of playtex girdles, and that was a hurdle indeed. I only did it only for the sex, in other words!


What was the London folk music scene like when he started out? —

Wonderful. I spent many a very stoned evening
. . . playing in clubs like Bunjies, The Troubadour and the Half Moon with Paul Simon, Jo-Ann Kelly, Roy Harper and eventually Nick Drake too.*

298) Tim Hollier — “Seagull’s Song”

Dear Spirit says that:

[“Seagull’s Song” is a]n obscure gem of beautiful, melancholic, psychedelic folk rock . . . . It’s my understanding that all folk albums of this era were legally required to contain at least one song dedicated to a bird, and “Seagull’s Song” takes care of that obligation right off the bat.


Yes and yes. I’m not even gonna mention Jonathan Livingston Seagull! Dr. Schloss says that:

This [album] is sort of a slightly psyched-up ‘Tim Buckley-lite” affair . . . . Although folk-rock is clearly the order of the day, the band does work up a groovy head of steam to give the songs a nice sonic push when needed. Most of the tunes here are pretty solid, though only a few really stand out. Despite some really clunky, cliched lyrics, “Seagull Song” worms its way into your head with a fine folk melody and some groovy guitar and flute leads bouncing about in the background. . . . Hollier is a Brit and the echoes of that islands folk traditions are on display here. Still, it’s clear that Hollier likely had a large pile of L.A. folk-rock vinyl taking up space in his ‘flat.’ This set isn’t really a mindblower. It’s probably not going to change your life, but it’s a very groovy concoction while it’s playing . . . .


I generally disagree with the good doctor. The songs are generally stunning, even mindblowing, and “Seagull’s” is possibly life-altering, but it’s lyrics could indeed by called clunky (though definitely not crunky).

299) Tim Hollier — “Maybe You Will Stay”

Is it just me, or does the melody of this song of generous spirit sound eerily reminiscent of Bob Dylan’s “Every Grain of Sand,” released a decade later? I can’t find anyone else noting the similarities before, but I maybe in the hour of Dylan’s deepest need . . . .

* More from Tim Hollier on performing in London. When asked by Record Collector whether he played live much, he responded:

As often as I could. I played on the BBC many times – John Peel always gave me a gig. One memorable gig was at the Wigmore Hall, of all places, with Amory Kane and Rick Cuff, in May ‘69. During our final number, Evolution, David Bowie suddenly appeared on stage in full space suit and performed a dance, ending with his almost naked body stricken on the stage. There were rumours of a live album of these events, but nothing emerged. I finally crashed as a performer at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, playing with Sarstedt and David McWilliams. For once I was headlining, my parents were in the audience and my oldest friends were onstage with me. But just before I went on my manager gave me a huge joint, and thereafter things became absolutely miserable. The BBC recorded it but it wasn’t much good, and I never played live again.

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