Johnny Rebel (singer)
|Birth name||Clifford Joseph Trahan|
|Also known as||Tommy Todd
Johnny "Pee Wee" Blaine
Johnny "Pee Wee" Trayhan
Johnny "Pee Wee" Trahan
October 3, 1938|
Moss Bluff, Louisiana, United States
|Origin||Crowley, Louisiana, United States|
|Died||August 28, 2014(aged 75)|
|Labels||Reb Rebel, Zynn, Todd, Flyright, Viking, Ringo, WOW, X-Rated, Wildwood, Master-Trak, AggWood, Try It Man, Johnny Rebel|
|Associated acts||Pee Wee Whitewing & The Country Boys
Johnny Blaine & Cross Country, Alex Bertrand, Al Foreman, Abe Manuel, Bobby McBride, Warren Storm, Alton Thibodeaux, Rufus Thibodeaux, Pee Wee Whitewing
Clifford Joseph Trahan (October 3, 1938 – August 28, 2014), best known as Johnny Rebel and also as Pee Wee Trahan, was a Cajun country musician. Trahan used the Johnny Rebel name most notably on recordings issued in the 1960s on J. D. "Jay" Miller's Reb Rebel label of Crowley, Louisiana.
Trahan first recorded 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.
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", "In 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." Only two of Trahan's songs are not strictly about race: "Keep a-Workin' Big Jim" is the efforts of Louisiana district attorney Jim Garrison to solve the Kennedy assassination, while "(Federal Aid Hell!) The Money Belongs to Us" is a song critical of U.S. federal aid programs.
Two of these songs were eventually issued in album format by Reb Rebel Records under the title "For Segregationists Only".
Johnny Rebel's songs have been covered by other singers such as Big Reb and the German band Landser. In 2005, his song "Some Niggers Never Die (They Just Smell That Way)" was used in the film What Is It? directed by Crispin Glover.
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 MP3 player, and wearing headphones.
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.
The song "Some Niggers Never Die (They Just Smell That Way)" was featured in the 2005 surrealist film What Is It?, in a scene where an African-American woman in an ape mask gives a handjob to a Caucasian man with cerebral palsy.
Trahan has rarely allowed himself to be photographed by anyone other than close friends and family, although he claims there are indeed images of him on the Internet. He says he has no idea where those photos originated. 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.
Trahan owned a driving school in Crowley, Louisiana which he handed over to his son in 2008.
Johnny Rebel is often misidentified as the pseudonym of David Allan Coe, an American outlaw country music singer who achieved popularity in 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."
Some of Johnny Rebel 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".
Trahan's version of "Nigger Hatin' Me" has also appeared, wrongly attributed to Buddy Holly, on Holly releases such as "The Apartment Demos".
The pseudonym Johnny Rebel is also used by a Columbus, Ohio, rockabilly singer named Sean Groves (born October 18, 1968). As Johnny Rebel, he has fronted regional rockabilly band Th' Flyin' Saucers since 1989. Groves has no connection with Trahan.
Controversy and popular reception
When Je'Nelle Chargois, the current president of the Lafayette chapter of the NAACP, was growing up in Lafayette, she never heard Johnny Rebel's music. But she stated she knows where it came from. "[It] is an example of a type of racism that is embedded in this community, and it is something that has to be dealt with," Chargois said.
As Johnny Rebel, Trahan says, he was just singing what was on the minds of everyone he knew. "At that time, there was a lot of resentment—whites toward blacks and blacks toward whites. So, everybody had their own feelings. Lots of people changed their feelings over the years. I basically changed my feelings over the years up to a point."
In the years since the Johnny Rebel sessions, his message has proliferated to groups throughout the world. "Since the 1960s, when country singer Johnny Rebel recorded songs such as 'Nigger Hatin' Me,' more than 500 rock bands have formed worldwide," reports the Anti-Defamation League in its report Bigots Who Rock: An ADL List of Hate Music Groups. Most of these groups formed after the British band Skrewdriver turned to delivering hate-filled messages in 1982.
Among the sites now selling bootlegged Johnny Rebel music is whitepowerrecords.com, which lists a CD titled Klassic Klan Kompositions. The site is a branch of Condor Legion Ordnance (CLO), a corporation avowedly dedicated to the survival of the white race. Victor Gephard, a lawyer who runs the CLO site, says that he has the right to sell the records because no one is clear who owns the copyrights to the material. He also says he doubts whether or not Trahan is the real Johnny Rebel, stating that some songs sound different vocally from others. "If he is really Johnny Rebel, he got a raw deal," Gephard says, adding that if managed and properly represented by attorneys, the real Johnny Rebel should be worth millions.
Resistance Records is the largest distributor of white power music. Former National Alliance leader William Luther Pierce—the author of the underground white nationalist classic book The Turner Diaries—purchased the company in 1999 and has built up to an estimated annual sales of $1 million, says ADL. The Resistance Web site lists Johnny Rebel's Klassic Klan Kompositions as its no. 2 seller, right after the top-selling video game Ethnic Cleansing.
|1971||For Segregationists Only
|2003||The Complete Johnny Rebel Collection
|It's the Attitude, Stupid!
|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|
- Shane K. Bernard, The Cajuns: Americanization of a People. Jackson, Miss: University Press of Mississippi, 2003, p. 63f.
- John Broven, South to Louisiana: The Music of the Cajun Bayous. Gretna, Louisiana: Pelican, 1983, p. 252f. ISBN 0-88289-608-3.
- Nick Pittman, "Johnny Rebel Speaks" at the Wayback Machine (archived November 12, 2007), in: Times of Acadiana, Lafayette, Louisiana, ca. 2000.
- "Page about Lâche pas la patate on Discogs.com".
- Internet Movie Database
- Acadie black et blanc (Moncton, N.B.: Monique LeBlanc, 2015).
- "Is Johnny Horton Racist?". Spasticmonkeys.com. February 19, 2004. Retrieved August 17, 2015.
- Dan Leroy (July 14, 2005). "Coe Revisits Penitentiary". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 26, 2015.
- Adams, Greg (December 6, 2014). "Did Johnny Horton record racist songs? A history of racist country music". Musicweird.blogspot.com. Retrieved August 17, 2015.
- Groves, Sean. "Th' Flyin' Saucers". Thflyinsaucers.com.
- Pittmann, Nick. "Johnny Rebel Speaks". Gambit: Best of New Orleans. Retrieved 2015-06-25.
- B & H Interview Johnny Rebel, "A True Son Of Louisiana, 2009" 
- 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")