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HAMISH IMLACH "More and Merrier" Lochshore CDLDL 1238

Hamish Imlach was an entertainer loved by folk music audiences all over the world, with a track record of around forty recordings.

This issue by Lochshore contains 15 tracks of which Hamish says he is recording 10 for the first time, 4 are from 1960s recordings unavailable for 25 years and one - Mary Anne - he recorded 15 years ago and thought he could do better.

His choice of music was always eclectic and here the songs range from a 19th century poem by Banjo Paterson, Australia's national poet; a murder ballad from Appalachia; the Scots ballad of Johnny (or Jock) of Breadislea and even the Brel/McKuen standard If You Go Away. Eclectic I said and eclectic you get, with humorous songs, naturally, being well represented.

Backing musicians include Fraser Spiers on moothie, Martin Allcock on bass and Derek Moffat on bodhran, with special mention of Ian McCalman for help with backing vocals and harmonies.

It's important to mention, too, that as well as being backing vocalists, Kate Kramer (also contributing strings and keyboards) and Muriel Graves sing lead vocals on four of the tracks while Kate also provides a fiddle tune set.

However, it's Hamish's album and in the liner notes he describes it as a wedding album since there is something old, something new, something borrowed and - well, it is Hamish Imlach - something a wee bit blue.

It serves well as a reminder of a man who did so much for the Scottish folk revival of the 60s and - also - did so much far beyond it.

Alan Brown

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This album was reviewed in Issue 16 of The Living Tradition magazine.