A salt-of-the-earth performer celebrated for his self-deprecating wit, singer/songwriter Iain Mackintosh was a vital if under-recognized exponent of the Scottish folk revival. Born in Glasgow on July 20, 1932, Mackintosh began playing the highland pipes at age seven. After his mother's 1944 death, he went to work in his father's watchmaking business, and while he continued moonlighting in a local pipe band, he harbored no illusions of a career in music. While serving in the military, Mackintosh learned a few rudimentary guitar chords, and after witnessing American folk legend Pete Seeger performing in Glasgow, he bought his own banjo. Finally, in 1960 he formed his first folk band, the Islanders, and while Mackintosh predictably called the group "not very good, but successful," they issued a self-titled debut LP in 1965. Stints with the Skerries and the Other Half followed, and while he remained little known to the public at large, Mackintosh's unassuming yet charismatic approach made him a favorite among fellow folkies.
In 1967 he guested on Hamish Imlach's Ballads of Booze, beginning a long creative collaboration that continued off and on for close to three decades. In 1970 Mackintosh closed the family watch business to devote himself to music full-time. After touring Germany and the U.S., in 1974 he released his first solo album, By Request, and four years later teamed with Imlach for A Man's a Man. Mackintosh enjoyed his greatest commercial success while signed to the Greentrax label, an association launched with his 1988 masterpiece, Gentle Persuasion. In 1995 he partnered with fellow Scot Brian McNeill for Stage by Stage, a relationship that emerged as Mackintosh's primary creative outlet in the wake of Imlach's 1996 death. Health problems dogged Mackintosh in the years to follow, and in late 1999 he quietly announced his retirement from touring, issuing the concert LP Alive and Kicking a year later. He died in Glasgow on August 28, 2006.