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Remembering Hamish Imlach

Jon Lewis | 17:11 UK time, Wednesday, 18 August 2010

We've been listening to quite a bit of the late, great Scottish entertainer Hamish Imlach in the folk office recently.

Hamish's daughter Fiona Imlach is making his autobiography (which he co-wrote with Ewan McVicar) available again, and we asked her to share a few memories with us...

"As a child it was a novelty telling people that your dad was a professional musician - especially living on a Motherwell council estate.

"We did go and see him playing when we were young, and were instructed to sit still and be quiet, although, I think the adults were told that too! One gig that sticks in my mind and that was the 'Welly Boot Show', where my brother - aged 10 - managed to sneak a peek at the topless Brandy de Franc!


hamish_imlach.jpg
Left to right: Mairead, me, Hamish, Jim and Vhari. Taken around 1968.

"Hamish was a very generous man and would help anyone out. He would often bring home strangers he had offered to take on the road with him.

"My poor mum didn't know who he would bring home next, but she made them welcome and ensured they were well fed and had a bed for the night.

"His kind heart also showed when he suggested that the volunteers at the Tønder Festival in Denmark should be thanked, and offered to make them a curry and put on an extra show for them.

"This tradition is still going, over 30 years later; my sister Mairead and I will be part of the curry crew on the 30th August, chopping a mountain of onions.

"We always received a present from his travels, although at 12 my older sister did not appreciate the very loud flowery jeans from America and my brother at ten was not impressed by the lederhosen he got from Germany. But I would say the stuffed woodpecker nailed to a piece of wood took some beating.

"After a night with Billy Connolly he came home with one of Billy's dog's pups, to be named 'Welly'. He felt sorry for it because it was the runt of the litter. Mum wasn't too amused at that; we lived in a second floor maisonette. Fortunately my nana and papa adopted Welly and he was a part of our lives for more than 12 years.

"We are very proud to know that dad played a very important part in not only the folk world but blues and rock, where his influence on Christie Moore, Billy Connolly, Barbara Dickson and John Martyn has been well documented. A few years ago I spoke to Eddi Reader at Tønder and she even mentioned how dad had given her good advice in the early stages of her career.

"If you have a quick search online, the number of hits his videos get are a testament to how popular and relevant his music still is."

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