Johnny Rebel (musician)

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Johnny Rebel
Photo of the upper body of a man who is wearing a hat and is holding a guitar
Background information
Birth nameClifford Joseph Trahan
Also known asTommy Todd
Jericho Jones
Johnny "Pee Wee" Blaine
Johnny "Pee Wee" Trayhan
Johnny "Pee Wee" Trahan
Born(1938-09-25)September 25, 1938
Moss Bluff, Louisiana, United States
OriginCrowley, Louisiana, United States
DiedSeptember 3, 2016(2016-09-03) (aged 77)
Rayne, Louisiana, United States
Genres
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter
Instruments
Years active1966–2003
LabelsReb Rebel, Zynn, Todd, Flyright, Viking, Ringo, WOW, X-Rated, Wildwood, Master-Trak, AggWood, Try It Man, Johnny Rebel

Clifford Joseph Trahan (September 25, 1938 – September 3, 2016), best known as Johnny Rebel and Pee Wee Trahan, was an American white supremacist singer, songwriter, and musician. Trahan used the Johnny Rebel name for a series of recordings for J. D. "Jay" Miller's Reb Rebel label in the 1960s, which feature overtly racist lyrics.[1][2]

Early life[edit]

Trahan was born in Moss Bluff, Louisiana in 1938 to Homer Trahan and Elizabeth Breaux Taylor.[3]

Career[edit]

His songs frequently used the racial slur "nigger" and often voiced sympathy for Jim Crow-era segregation, the Ku Klux Klan, and the Confederacy.

Trahan first recorded songs under the Johnny Rebel name in the mid-1960s. He employed J. D. "Jay" Miller's recording studio in Crowley, Louisiana. Miller, in fact, produced the sessions and issued the recordings on his own Reb Rebel label.[2]

Trahan's first release—the fifth for the Reb Rebel label—was a 45 RPM single of "Lookin' for a Handout" and "Kajun Ku Klux Klan". He would record many more singles for the label, "Nigger, Nigger", "Coon Town", "Who Likes a Nigger?", "Nigger Hatin' Me", "Still Looking for a Handout", "Some Niggers Never Die (They Just Smell That Way)", "Stay Away from Dixie", and "Move Them Niggers North".[2] Few of Trahan's songs concern topics other than race. These exceptions include "Keep a-Workin' Big Jim", about the efforts of Louisiana district attorney Jim Garrison to solve the Kennedy assassination, and "(Federal Aid Hell!) The Money Belongs to Us", a song critical of U.S. federal aid programs.[4] Two of these songs were eventually issued in album format by Reb Rebel Records under the title For Segregationists Only.[2]

In 1974, Trahan's song "Lâche pas la patate" (also known as "The Potato Song"), sung by Jimmy C. Newman was released in Canada.[5]

Johnny Rebel's songs have been covered by other singers such as Big Reb and the German band Landser.

A CD compilation of his works simply shows a hooded Klansman together with a depiction of the Confederate Battle Flag. The cover of the album It's the Attitude, Stupid! shows a hooded Klansman, holding what appears to be either a Walkman or an MP3 player with a confederate flag texture, and wearing headphones.

Personal life[edit]

Trahan rarely allowed himself to be photographed, although he claimed there were genuine images of him on the Internet. He said he had no idea where those photos originated.[4] In 2015, however, he appeared in the Canadian documentary Acadie black et blanc (released in English as Acadie Black and White), in which he defended his recordings and his views on race.[6]

He died on September 3, 2016, twenty-two days away from his 78th birthday.[3]

Misattributions[edit]

Johnny Rebel is often misidentified as the pseudonym of David Allan Coe,[7] an American outlaw country music singer who achieved popularity during the 1970s and 1980s. The confusion stems in part from the song "Nigger Fucker", which appears on Coe's Underground Album. Coe has been quoted as saying that "anyone that hears [Underground Album] and says I'm a racist is full of shit."[8]

Some of Johnny Rebel's songs have also been misattributed to Johnny Horton, an American country music and rockabilly singer who died in 1960. The confusion appears to stem from a song by Horton called "Johnny Reb".[7][9]

Popular reception[edit]

The website of Resistance Records, a white supremacist label, has listed Johnny Rebel's Klassic Klan Kompositions as its no. 2 seller, second only to the video game Ethnic Cleansing.[10]

In popular culture[edit]

The television series The Boondocks parodied Johnny Rebel's music in one of its episodes (entitled "The Story of Jimmy Rebel"). The episode portrays a recording artist who is ostensibly Johnny Rebel.

In 2005, the Johnny Rebel song "Some Niggers Never Die (They Just Smell That Way)" was used in the film What Is It?, directed by Crispin Glover.[11] [12]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Year Album details
1971 For Segregationists Only

  • Release date: 1971
  • Label: Reb Rebel Records
2003 The Complete Johnny Rebel Collection

  • Release date: 2003
  • Label: Johnny Rebel Records
It's the Attitude, Stupid!

  • Release date: 2003
  • Label: Try It Man Records

Singles[edit]

Year Single Peak positions Album
US Country
1966 "Lookin' for a Handout / Kajun Ku Klux Klan" For Segregationists Only
"Nigger Hatin' Me / Who Likes a Nigger"
1967 "(Federal Aid Hell!) The Money Belongs to Us / Keep a Workin' Big Jim "
1968 "Nigger, Nigger / Move Them Niggers North"
1969 "Coon Town / Still Looking For A Handout"
1970 "Some Niggers Never Die / Stay Away From Dixie "—" denotes releases that did not chart



References[edit]

Specific
  1. ^ Shane K. Bernard, The Cajuns: Americanization of a People. Jackson, Miss: University Press of Mississippi, 2003, pp. 63–64.
  2. ^ a b c d John Broven, South to Louisiana: The Music of the Cajun Bayous. Gretna, Louisiana: Pelican, 1983, pp. 252–253. ISBN 0-88289-608-3.
  3. ^ a b "Clifford Joseph Trahan Obituary". September 4, 2016. Retrieved September 27, 2016.
  4. ^ a b Nick Pittman, ""Johnny Rebel Speaks"". Archived from the original on November 12, 2007. Retrieved 2017-04-26., in: Times of Acadiana, Lafayette, Louisiana, ca. 2000.
  5. ^ "Page about Lâche pas la patate on Discogs.com".
  6. ^ Acadie black et blanc (Moncton, N.B.: Monique LeBlanc, 2015).
  7. ^ a b "Is Johnny Horton Racist?". Spasticmonkeys.com. February 19, 2004. Archived from the original on January 5, 2009. Retrieved August 17, 2015.
  8. ^ Dan Leroy (July 14, 2005). "Coe Revisits Penitentiary". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
  9. ^ Adams, Greg (December 6, 2014). "Did Johnny Horton record racist songs? A history of racist country music". Musicweird.blogspot.com. Retrieved August 17, 2015.
  10. ^ Pittmann, Nick. "Johnny Rebel Speaks". Gambit: Best of New Orleans. Retrieved 2015-06-25.
  11. ^ Internet Movie Database
  12. ^ Brows Held High What Is It HD: Kyle Kallgren: Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming: Internet Archive
General
  • B & H Interview Johnny Rebel, "A True Son Of Louisiana, 2009" [1]
  • John Broven, South to Louisiana: The Music of the Cajun Bayous (Gretna, La.: Pelican, 1983).
  • Shane K. Bernard, The Cajuns: Americanization of a People (Jackson, Miss: University Press of Mississippi, 2003).
  • Terry E. Gordon, Rockin' Country Style
  • Landser: Deutsche Wut/Rock gegen Oben, 1997, CD (track 9 "Kreuzberg" is a German language cover of Trahan's "Coon Town")