The Ballad of Art's Car
and the Kangaroo Court

Note: This was in the youthful days of The Honorable Arthur Skaar Esq.
now a respected attorney and public servant in New Jersey.  No hurt intended.
Fortunately our dear brother completely healed and we we can even look back and laugh.

To the tune of Hurricane Carter by Bob Dylan

Pistol shots ring out in the bar room night
Enter Patty Valentine from the upper hall.
She sees the bartender in a pool of blood,
Cries out, "My God, they killed them all!"

Here comes the story of the Hurricane,
The man the authorities came to blame
For somethin' that he never done.
Put in a prison cell, but one time he could-a been
The champion of the world.


Three bodies lyin' there does Patty see
And another man named Bello, movin' around mysteriously.
"I didn't do it," he says, and he throws up his hands
"I was only robbin' the register, I hope you understand.

I saw them leavin'," he says, and he stops
"One of us had better call up the cops."
And so Patty calls the cops
And they arrive on the scene with their red lights flashin'
In the hot New Jersey night.

Meanwhile, far away in another part of town
Rubin Carter and a couple of friends are drivin' around.
Number one contender for the middleweight crown
Had no idea what kinda shit was about to go down

When a cop pulled him over to the side of the road
Just like the time before and the time before that.
In Paterson that's just the way things go.
If you're black you might as well not show up on the street
'Less you wanna draw the heat.

Alfred Bello had a partner and he had a rap for the cops.
Him and Arthur Dexter Bradley were just out prowlin' around
He said, "I saw two men runnin' out,
They looked like middleweights
They jumped into a white car with out-of-state plates."

And Miss Patty Valentine just nodded her head.
Cop said, "Wait a minute, boys, this one's not dead"
So they took him to the infirmary
And though this man could hardly see
They told him that he could identify the guilty men.

Four in the mornin' and they haul Rubin in,
Take him to the hospital and they bring him upstairs.
The wounded man looks up through his one dyin' eye
Says, "Wha'd you bring him in here for? He ain't the guy!"

Yes, here's the story of the Hurricane,
The man the authorities came to blame
For somethin' that he never done.
Put in a prison cell, but one time he could-a been
The champion of the world.


Four months later, the ghettos are in flame,
Rubin's in South America, fightin' for his name
While Arthur Dexter Bradley's still in the robbery game
And the cops are puttin' the screws to him,
lookin' for somebody to blame.

"Remember that murder that happened in a bar?"
"Remember you said you saw the getaway car?"
"You think you'd like to play ball with the law?"
"Think it might-a been that fighter that you saw runnin' that night?"
"Don't forget that you are white."

Arthur Dexter Bradley said, "I'm really not sure."
Cops said, "A poor boy like you could use a break
We got you for the motel job
and we're talkin' to your friend Bello
Now you don't wanta have to go back to jail,
be a nice fellow.

You'll be doin' society a favor.
That sonofabitch is brave and gettin' braver.
We want to put his ass in stir
We want to pin this triple murder on him
He ain't no Gentleman Jim."

Rubin could take a man out with just one punch
But he never did like to talk about it all that much.
It's my work, he'd say, and I do it for pay
And when it's over I'd just as soon go on my way

Up to some paradise
Where the trout streams flow and the air is nice
And ride a horse along a trail.
But then they took him to the jail house
Where they try to turn a man into a mouse.

All of Rubin's cards were marked in advance
The trial was a pig-circus, he never had a chance.
The judge made Rubin's witnesses drunkards from the slums
To the white folks who watched he was a revolutionary bum

And to the black folks he was just a crazy nigger.
No one doubted that he pulled the trigger.
And though they could not produce the gun,
The D.A. said he was the one who did the deed
And the all-white jury agreed.

Rubin Carter was falsely tried.
The crime was murder "one," guess who testified?
Bello and Bradley and they both baldly lied
And the newspapers, they all went along for the ride.

How can the life of such a man
Be in the palm of some fool's hand?
To see him obviously framed
Couldn't help but make me feel ashamed
to live in a land
Where justice is a game.

Now all the criminals in their coats and their ties
Are free to drink martinis and watch the sun rise
While Rubin sits like Buddha in a ten-foot cell
An innocent man in a living hell.

That's the story of the Hurricane,
But it won't be over till they clear his name
And give him back the time he's done.
Put in a prison cell, but one time he could-a been
The champion of the world.

 

Jury, including 2 blacks, finds
Rubin Carter guilty at 2nd trial
in December 1976

Dylan stops playing song and
withdraws support in 1976

Beer and shots go down in a bar room night
Later, Betas round the curve and screech to a halt
They see a white Le Mans flipped upon its hood
They cry out "My God, it's killed them all!"

Here comes the story of the Beta Skaar.
The night he went out and totaled his car.
Somethin' only he would have done
Put in a body cast, but one time
he could have been
The President of the House.


Three bodies lying there do the Beta's see
And another man named Jake, movin' around groggily,
"I didn't see it" Art says, and he throws up his hands.
I was only doing about 90, I hope you understand.

He started leaving, he paused, and he stops
One of us had better call up the cops
And so Shad he calls the cops
And they arrive on the scene with their red lights flashin'
In the hot New Jersey night.

Earlier, far away in another part of town,
Betas and their new Pledges were clownin' around
Number one fraternity in the Colgate town,
Had no idea what kinda stuff was about to go down.

When Art drove over off the side of the road
Just like the time before and the time before that.
With Arty that's the just the way things go.
If you're wise you might as well not show up on his seat
Less you wanna take a beat

Arty was a driver who could outrun the the cops
Time for Arthur to drive Jake and Howland home.
We saw two bro's going with him,
They looked like lighter weights
They jumped into the white car with New Jersey plates

And the brother that followed just shook their heads.
Cop said, "You're lucky, boys, that you're not dead"
So he took them to the infirmary
And though these men could hardly see
He asked for cards to identify the drunken men.

Four in the mornin' and they haul Artie in,
Take him to the hospital and they bring him upstairs
The hurting man looks up through his one drunken eye
Says "What'd you bring me here for?  This ain't a bar!"

Yes, here's the story of the Beta Skaar
The night he went out and totaled his car
Somethin' only he would have done
Put in a body cast, but one time he could-a been
The President of the House.

Four months later, the Beta's are in flame
Artie's in Kangaroo Court, fightin' for his name
While Judge Scloid's still running the game
And the jury's puttin' the screws to him,
lookin' for someone to defame..

"Remember that night and what happened in a bar?"
"Remember you said you saw Art get in his car?"
"You think you'd like to play ball with the law"
"Think it might-a been that driver you saw drivin' that night"
"Don't forget that you are white."

Arthur L. Skaar Jr. said "I'm really not sure."
Judge Scloid said "A poor boy like you should be in the lake"
We got you for the hose blow job
and we're talking to your friend Jehl-o
You don't want to go back to the doctor
Be a nice fellow

You'll be doin' society a favor
That son of a gun is crazy and getting crazier
They had to put his ass in a cast
We want to pin this triple hurt on him
He ain't no gentlemen yet.

Arty could drink a beer with just one munch
But he never did like to talk about it all that much
It's my work, he'd say, and I do it for play
And when it's over I'd just as soon go on my way.

Up to some paradise
Where the beer streams flow, and the smoke is nice
And ride a hog along her tail
But then they took him to a hospital
Where they try to make a man out of a louse

All of Arty's cards were marked in advance.
The trial was a kangaroo, he never had a chance.
Judge Scloid and the witnesses were drunkards like the slums
To the white bro's who watched, he was a revolutionary bum

And to the Beta bro's he was just a crazy bastard
No one doubted that he drove while plastered.
And though they could not produce the glass
The Judge said he was the one who did the deed
And the Kangaroo Jury agreed

Artie Skaar was falsely tried
The crime was DWI - guess who testified?
Reaper and Howland and they both boldly ragged
And the Brotherhood, they went along for the ride.

How can the life of such a man
Be in the palm of some dude's hand
To see him obviously smashed
Couldn't help but make you feel abashed,
to live in a house
Where Beta's get so smashed.

Now all the Beta bro's in their coats and their ties
Are free to drink martinis and watch their girls rise
While Artie sits like Buddha in hospital cell
A sobering man in a turtle shell.

That's the story of the Beta Skaar
But it won't be over till they fix his car,
Give him the sheep skin when he's done
Put in a body cast, but one time he could-a been
The President of the House.


Rag Room Music

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