Johnny Rebel (singer)

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This article is about the American country singer Johnny Rebel. For the national personification of the Confederate States of America soldier, see Johnny Reb. For other uses of the term Johnny Rebel or Johnny Reb, see Johnny Reb (disambiguation).
Johnny Rebel
Birth name Clifford Joseph Trahan
Also known as Tommy Todd
Jericho Jones
Johnny "Pee Wee" Blaine
Johnny "Pee Wee" Trayhan
Johnny "Pee Wee" Trahan
Filthy McNasty
Born (1938-10-03) October 3, 1938 (age 77)
Moss Bluff, Louisiana, United States
Origin Crowley, Louisiana, United States
Genres
Occupation(s) Singer, Songwriter
Instruments
Years active 1958–present
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 "Pee Wee" Trahan (born October 3, 1938), best known as Johnny Rebel and Pee Wee Trahan, is an American country 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]

Career[edit]

His songs frequently use the word nigger and often voiced sympathy for Jim Crow-era segregation and the Ku Klux Klan.

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.[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] 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.[3] Two of these songs were eventually issued in album format by Reb Rebel Records under the title "For Segregationists Only".[2]

In 1976, Trahan's song "Lâche pas la patate" (also known as "The Potato Song"), sung by Jimmy C. Newman earned gold record status in Canada.[4]

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.[5]

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.

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.

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.

Personal life[edit]

Trahan has rarely allowed himself to be photographed, although he claims there are indeed images of him on the Internet. He says he has no idea where those photos originated.[3] 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]

Trahan owned a driving school in Crowley, Louisiana which he handed over to his son in 2008.[7]

Misattributions[edit]

Johnny Rebel is often misidentified as the pseudonym of David Allan Coe,[8] 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."[9]

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".[8][10]

Trahan's version of "Nigger Hatin' Me" has also appeared, wrongly attributed to Buddy Holly, on Holly releases such as "The Apartment Demos".

Popular reception[edit]

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.[11]

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

Footnotes[edit]

  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 Nick Pittman, "Johnny Rebel Speaks" at the Wayback Machine (archived November 12, 2007), in: Times of Acadiana, Lafayette, Louisiana, ca. 2000.
  4. ^ "Page about Lâche pas la patate on Discogs.com". 
  5. ^ Internet Movie Database
  6. ^ Acadie black et blanc (Moncton, N.B.: Monique LeBlanc, 2015).
  7. ^ "About Us". letsdrivecrowley.com. Archived from the original on 2012-04-02. 
  8. ^ a b "Is Johnny Horton Racist?". Spasticmonkeys.com. February 19, 2004. Retrieved August 17, 2015. 
  9. ^ Dan Leroy (July 14, 2005). "Coe Revisits Penitentiary". Rolling Stone. Retrieved November 26, 2015. 
  10. ^ Adams, Greg (December 6, 2014). "Did Johnny Horton record racist songs? A history of racist country music". Musicweird.blogspot.com. Retrieved August 17, 2015. 
  11. ^ Pittmann, Nick. "Johnny Rebel Speaks". Gambit: Best of New Orleans. Retrieved 2015-06-25. 

References[edit]

  • 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")