Think of Hamish Imlach and one automatically thinks of Scotland. Yet Hamish was born in Calcutta in 1940, brought up in Darjeeling, moved in 1948 to Brisbane, Australia and came to Scotland only in 1953. Now, however, he is a permanent and very vital fixture on the Scottish folk scene. He was at school with Ray and Archie Fisher and Bobby Campbell and made his first record in a group backing his good friend Josh Macrae. He is one of the most popular figures on the club circuit in Scotland and has done a considerable amount of concert, T.V., and cabaret work there. Recently he invaded England and it is difficult to see how the Sassenachs will resist him.
This album is a good cross-section of Hamish's extensive and varied repertoire. Johnny O'Breadislee was a Scottish Robin Hood who got caught while stealing the King's deer.
Men Of Knoydartis a song written by Hamish Henderson who was writing effective protest songs before Bob Dylan was born. It tells the story of a group of crofters who made a land raid on to the estate of Lord Brocket. Their spontaneous outburst fanned the prevailing militancy of all Scots Nationalists, frustrated by the repeatedly broken pledges' of politicians to remedy the decay of the Highlands
The Zoological Gardens was supposedly one of the favourite songs of the late Brendan Behan. Hamish follows this with a selection of Glasgow Street Songs and then with Cod Liver Oil And Orange Juice, a sad tale of the seduction and downfall of Hairy Mary and one of the most popular songs in the Scottish Folk clubs. The last song on side one is The Gaudie which Hamish believes was written by his great-grandfather. He comments, 'the tune is a Hessian retreat and judging by the tempo, they must have broken a few world records on the way back'. Side two begins with If It Wasn't For The Unions by Matt McGinn and this followed by The Cumbie Boys which deals with the unofficial supporters clubs of the two leading Glasgow football teams, Rangers and Celtic. For a change of mood, Hamish turns to Erin Go Bragh an Irish rebel song and then switches again to The Soldier's Prayer, an old service song overhauled by Stan Kelly. The record ends with two more contrasting tracks, Black Is The Colour, a tender, lyrical ballad which Hamish says he hummed and whistled for years before he finally got round to learning the words and Foggy Dew one of the greatest of all Irish rebel songs.