Hamish Imlach is a big subject to discuss in a few words, and any attempt to give a picture in the round is doomed to failure. But one can at least say that for years he has been one of the folk scene's biggest successes.
Joking apart, both on and offstage, Hamish is definitely larger than life. He laughs enormously and infectiously, often at his own jokes (which are usually of such monumental awfulness that they are, for me, superb!). He talks expansively and entertainingly by the hour, with an apparently inexhaustible mixture of the bawdy, the shaggy-dog and the fantastic. He is, in the best sense of the word, a true Rabelaisian. He seems to enjoy everything that comes his way, and has the rare and priceless gift of sharing that enjoyment both in his act and in casual conversation.
He is, above all, an entertainer in the old manner, when personality was at least important as a good script.
When I interviewed Hamish recently, he observed that, though he includes traditional songs in his act, he doesn't consider himself in any way a traditional artist. If someone hears me sing something traditional and is persuaded to listen to the real thing, then I'm happy.
Similarly, if anyone listening to this second Hamish Imlach sampler is led on to the real thing (the original albums), then I'll be happy too.
As, indeed, will Hamish!
FRED WOODS, MAY 1973