Hamish Imlach

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Larger-than-life Scotland-based folk singer and humorist who toured regularly up until his death.
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Hamish Imlach had a multi-layered performing career, as an anti-nuclear activist, comedian, folk-singer, and political satirist. A native of Scotland, he began his recording career in 1966 on Transatlantic Records' XTRA label and ultimately cut eight popular LPs for the company over the next seven years. He loved traditional folk songs, but was a performer of many parts, with a topical political bent to his work--relfected in his performances of Scottish and Irish political songs--but it was his comical songs about various bodily functions that found Imlach his widest audience. Imlach's mixture of folk music and comedy, which made him resemble a kind of politicized, scatological Scottish version of Allan Sherman, had a profound influence on an entire generation of up-and-coming performers in England, and can be felt even in the work of Monty Python's Flying Circus. His 300 pound physique, and his enjoyment of smoking and drinking took a toll on his health, and during the last years of his life, Imlach's performing career was severely curtailed, although he did contribute vocals and arrangement expertise to Sinead O'Connor's 1990 album Lion In A Cage. In 1992, he wrote and published an autobiography, Cod Liver Oil And The Orange Juice - Reminiscences Of A Fat Folk Singer. The first part of the book title was also the name of one of his most popular songs, and other Imlach numbers that fans especially enjoyed were "Black Is The Color Of My True Love's Hair, "This Sporting Life," and "Sonny's Dream."