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Hamish Imlach, Folk Music Revivalist, Dead at 55

January 2, 1996

GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) _ Hamish Imlach, a leading figure in Scotland’s folk music revival of the 1950s and 1960s, has died. He was 55.

Imlach died Monday night at his home in the Glasgow suburb of Motherwell, said his partner, Muriel Graves. The cause of death was not announced. The singer had been in poor health for years and had bronchitis recently.

Imlach recorded more than three dozen albums and toured widely. His proteges included the comedian Billy Connolly and pop singer Chris De Burgh.

Among the songs best loved by his fans were ``Black is the Color of My True Love’s Hair,″ ``This Sporting Life,″ ``Sonny’s Dream″ and ``Cod Liver Oil and the Orange Juice.″

``In the 1960s, he was kind of a catalyst for people interested in folk music. We would all congregate at his house,″ said Archie Fisher, a Scottish musician and broadcaster.

Alastair Clark, a music critic for The Scotsman newspaper in Edinburgh, said Imlach could make the ``dourest audience collapse in mirth.″

``His rollicking performances often disguised the fact that he could sing traditional ballads with the best of them, and he was a blues guitarist of great sensitivity and finesse,″ Clark said.

Weighing nearly 300 pounds, Imlach was a man of outsized appetite, which took a toll on his health.

In his 1992 autobiography, ``Cod Liver Oil and the Orange Juice _ Reminiscences of a Fat Folk Singer,″ Imlach wrote: ``I’d always joked about my drinking and smoking that I would hate to die with a heart attack and have a good liver, kidneys and brain. When I die I want everything to be knackered.″

Born to Scottish parents in Calcutta, India, Imlach became involved in folk music while studying engineering in Glasgow.

He is survived by four children and his wife Wilma, from whom he was separated. Funeral arrangements were not announced.

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