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X:1 T:Old Judge Parker M:2/4 L:1/8 S:Frank Maloy, Devil's Box, vol. 22, No. 3, Fall 1988, p. 15. K:G [G,/G/][G,/E/]|[G,D][B,D] E/F/G/A/|[G/A/]B[G/A/] [GB>][GA] |\ [GB] e/d/ B/A/G/B/|A/G/G/A/ G[G,/G/][G,/E/] | [G,D][B,D] E/F/G/A/| [G/A/]B[G/A/] [GB>][GA]|Be/d/ B/A/G/B/|A/G/G/A/ GG/E/| DD E/F/G/A/|A/BA/ B>A|Be/d/ B/A/G/B/| A/G/G/A/ GG/E/| DD E/F/G/A/|A/BA/ B>A|Be/d/ B/A/G/B/|A/G/G Be/f/| gg/a/ g/e/d/g/|e/ge/ ge/f/|g/f/g/a/ g/e/d/c/|B/A/G/A/ Be/f/| g/f/g/a/ g/e/d/g/|e/d/d/g/ g>A|Be/d/ B/A/G/B/|A/BA/ B(g| g)g/a/ g/e/d/g/|e/ge/ ge/f/|g/f/g/a/ g/e/d/c/|B/A/G/A/ Be/f/| g/f/g/a/ g/e/d/g/|e/d/d/g/ g>A|Be/d/ B/A/G/B/ | [G/A/][GB][G/A/] [GB] ||

JUDGE PARKER. AKA - "Old Judge Parker." AKA and see "Judge Parker Take These Shackles Off of Me," "Take the Shackles off," "Take Your Shackles Off of Me." American, Reel (cut time). USA, Oklahoma, Texas. G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB (Thede): AA'BB' (Beisswenger & McCann). The infamous "Hanging Judge," Isaac Charles Parker, of Fort Smith, Arkansas, in the twenty-one years between 1875 and 1896 sentenced 164 men to the gallows. A United States District Judge for part of Arkansas and about 70,000 square miles of untamed land to the west (at that time including the Indian Territory which later became the state of Oklahoma), his was the sole court for the region until 1889, when it became possible to appeal to the United States Supreme Court. The Parker name became iconic for judges, and was used frequently to represent hard justice; thus the tune title probably does not refer to Isaac Parker himself, with the plea "Judge Parker, Take These Shackles Off of Me" being condensed to "Judge Parker".

Isaac Charles Parker c. 1874

As with many American fiddle tunes, variants are sometimes quite distanced from one another. The first strain of Dick Hutchison's blues-tinged version (see Milliner-Koken) is similar to the second strain of Frank Maloy's version (Devil's Box), but the other strains diverge.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Beisswenger & McCann (Ozarks Fiddle Tunes), 2008; p. 29 (appears as "Old Judge Parker"). Milliner & Koken (Milliner-Koken Collection of American Fiddle Tunes), 2011; p. 350 (appears as "Judge Parker, Take These Shackles Off of Me"). Thede (The Fiddle Book), 1967; p. 103.

Recorded sources : - Copper Creek CCCD-0196, Tom, Brad & Alice - "We'll Die in the Pig Pen Fighting." County 762, Lymon Enloe - "Fiddle Tunes I Recall." MSOTFA 115, Unle Dick Hutchinson - "Sharecropper's Blues" (2015). Rimrock LP 120, Dick Hutchinson - "More Old Time Fiddlin'" (1969). Rounder 0437, Noel Scott - "Traditional Fiddle Music of the Ozarks, vol. 3: Down in the Border Counties." Stoneway STY 135, Bill Northcutt - "Front Porch Fiddling" (1973).

See also listing at :
Jane Keefer's Folk Music Index: An Index to Recorded Sources [1]
Hear Uncle Dick Hutchison's 1969 recording at Slippery Hill [2]
Hear Bill Northcutt's recording at Slippery Hill [3]
Hear Sam Pim's 1976 field recording by Jim Renner at Slippery Hill [4]

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