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Fighter

  • 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

Susannes Folksong-Notizen

  • [1977:] 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. (Donaldson/Morpeth, Dictionary of Scottish History 146)

  • [1988:] Benny Lynch (1913-1946), British, European and World Flyweight Champion. Biography cf. Burrowes, John: Benny, The Life and Times of a Fighting Legend (1982) (King, Palace 91f)

  • [1990:] The leitmotif of this period [the Depression] for many Glaswegians is the career of Benny Lynch the boxer. A Gorbals boy, he became British, European and World Flyweight champion in a spectacular series of fights in the 1930s. The punters say that he was the best fighter his country has ever produced. But Benny had a drink problem, hit the skids and wound up drinking cheap fortified wine and all sorts of poison. He drank himself to death in 1946 at the age of 33, but is remembered throughout Glasgow with nothing but affection on the 'there but for the grace of God' principle. (Damer, Glasgow 148)

  • [1995:] Benny Lynch is still a household name in Scotland, a tiny boxer whose brief, meteoric career, messily ended by the booze, seemed to prove to so many people in the thirties that sheer courage could get you out of the ghetto. Sadly, though, his contemporary Hugh Roberton now seems to have been forgotten. A determined and eloquent pacifist, he was the founder and leader of the world famous Glasgow Orpheus Choir at the outbreak of the second world war. Winston Churchill (now there's a villain who deserves a song, some day) was so afraid of Roberton's influence that he deliberately had him broken. (Notes Brian McNeill, 'No Gods')

Quelle: Scotland

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