10 February 1940|
1 January 1996 (aged 55)|
Hamish Imlach (10 February 1940, Calcutta, British India - 1 January 1996, Motherwell, Scotland) was a Scottish folk singer. He was born in Calcutta to Scottish parents but claimed to have been conceived in Glasgow, Scotland. Although his commercial success was limited, he influenced many other artists, including most notably John Martyn, Billy Connolly, and Christy Moore. In Central and Northern Europe Imlach enjoyed a strong reputation as a vivid live artist. Particularly in Denmark and Germany his live performances were much cherished.
He had his biggest hit in the late 1960s with "Cod Liver Oil and the Orange Juice", a scurrilous and hilarious take on the American gospel standard "Virgin Mary Had a Little Baby" written by Ron Clark and Carl MacDougall. The song was for a time banned by the BBC as it was assumed to be full of double meanings, but at one point became the most requested song on British Forces Radio.
Imlach was invited to join the Irish trad and folk group The Dubliners. He was also an early anti-nuclear protestor and wrote and performed protest songs as well as comic ones. After recovering from a serious illness in the 1970s he regularly toured with Iain MacKintosh as well as doing solo tours. For the last 18 months of his professional life his stage partner was Kate Kramer, a Canadian fiddle player and singer living in Scotland, with whom he recorded his last CD, More and Merrier (1996).
Hamish Imlach was married to Wilma and had four children, Mairead, Fiona, Jim and Vhari. His health deteriorated again towards the latter part of his life with bronchial troubles and obesity. In his 1992 autobiography, co-written with Ewan McVicar, Cod Liver Oil and the Orange Juice he jested "When I die I want everything to be knackered!".
- Hamish Imlach (XTRA, 1966)
- Before and After (XTRA, 1967)
- Live (XTRA, 1967)
- The Two Sides of Hamish Imlach (XTRA, 1968)
- Ballads of the booze (XTRA, 1968)
- Old Rarity (XTRA, 1971)
- Fine Old English Tory Times (XTRA, 1972)
- Murdered Ballads (XTRA, 1973)
- Scottish Sabbath (Autogram, 1976)
- A Man's a Man (Autogram, 1978) with Iain MacKintosh
- The Sporting Life (Musikiste, 1981)
- Sonny's Dream (Lismor, 1985)
- Portrait (Musikiste, 1989)
- I Was Born in Glasgpow (Gallus Music, 1991)
- Two's Company (Vindaloo Music, 1993) with Muriel Graves
- More and Merrier (Lochshore, 1995) with Muriel Graves and Kate Kramer