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Benny Lynch by Matt McGinn

The whole of the river sang, Benny has been
Benny has been, Benny has been
Down in the city that never was mean
We all sang, Benny has been

Up from the heart of the Gorbals he rose
Don't tramp on his toes for everyone knows
From then on when we see the bend in your nose
We'll all sing, Benny has been

Down to the shows Benny went as a youth
To fight in the booth, I'll tell you the truth
Many's the big man was short of a tooth
As he sang, Young Benny has been

To Manchester City young Benny went down
To fight Jackie Brown, he picked up the crown
He came back in triumph to old Glasgow town
And the city sang, Benny has been

He beat Small Montana, he floored Peter Kane
Sent him back to train, then downed him again
The lynch-pin of boxing inflicted more pain
And the city sang, Benny has been

The city had T.B., the city had booze
Her victims she'd choose, and send out the news
That Benny would win and then Benny would lose
And the city sang, Benny has been.

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Fighter by Brian McNeill

One evening as I walked along the bonny banks o' Clyde
I fell in wi' an old man, doon by the waterside
Our talk was of the days in the factories and yards
When the fighting men of Glasgow were the hardest of the hard
Oor talk was of the heroes, of Maxton and McShane
And would the city ever see the likes o' them again
He told me he was sure there was still fighting to be done
But we wouldn't see the fighters till the battle had begun

To hear the old man talking took me back across the years
To the hard, hungry thirties in a city full o' tears
When a wee man from the Gorbals was the victor and the king
The toast of every company, the champion o' the ring
Benny Lynch came up the hard way, at fifty bob a fight
With his eyes upon the glory till the whisky killed the light
And in the streets and tenements you'd hear the people tell
How Benny Lynch's victories belonged to them as well

The whistling of the wind brought another man to mind
A different kind of fighter who was born before his time
Hugh Roberton believed that to go to war was wrong
And against the world's opinion he refused to change his song
He was the city's Orpheus, he gave the world a choir
He forged a song for Glasgow out of gentleness and fire
And when they tried to silence him he fought with all his might
With the dignity and courage of a man who would not fight

Now the song that comes from Glasgow says the city's raw and rough
And standing by the Clyde I knew the song was true enough
But a sound came o'er the river, the beating o' a drum
From the Gorbals that they tore down just to build another slum
It beat upon my heart and told me never to forget
That we're waiting for the fighter that will come from Glasgow yet
We'll know him by his courage, for he'll never give an inch
With the dignity of Roberton and the guts of Benny Lynch

James Maxton (1885-1946). Born Pollokshaws; school teacher; joined Independent Labour Party 1904; imprisoned 1916 for calling general strike on Clyde; M.P. for Bridgeton 1922-46 and chairman of the I.L.P. 1926-31 and 1934-39.

Hugh Roberton was a determined and eloquent pacifist, and founder and leader of the world famous Glasgow Orpheus Choir at the outbreak of the second world war. Winston Churchill was so afraid of Roberton's influence that he deliberately undermined him.

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