Friday, October 19, 2018

The Final Solution: Here Comes the Judge

Dewey "Pigmeat" Markham
Jurisprudence and case law have been in the news recently—particularly due to the controversy surrounding the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. But all the brouhaha brings up precedents created by another voice who came into the public eye during an earlier period of conflict. And that’s Judge Pigmeat Markham whose "Here Comes the Judge" and "The Trial" (which was the flip side of the 45 and might be conceived as the closest thing to Kafka in jukebox form) handed down decisions that echoed through the halls of music as well as justice. Remember the opening of “Here Comes the Judge,” “Hear ye, hear ye, the court of swing it's just about ready to do that thing” and later “Every body near and far I’m going to Paris to stop this war.” The Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” (1999), produced by Sylvia Robinson (of Mickey and Sylvia, “Love is Strange” fame) is often credited as being one of the first rap or hip hop hits, but actually Pigmeat, a comedian on the R&B circuit who played venues like The Apollo was one of the first to produce this kind of “talk radio.” The record is also significant to the extent that it directly references the Paris Peace Accords, which though not signed until 1973, had begun to be negotiated in 1968, the year “Here Comes the Judge” was released. In his version of “The Trial,” Pigmeat throws the case of a man who's accused of being a nudist out of court when he finds that the man has had 9 children in 3 years and hasn’t had time to put his pants on. Joseph K's case might have fared better with Pigmeat on the bench.

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