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Johnny Rebel (singer)

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Johnny Rebel
Johnny Rebel.jpg
Background information
Birth name Clifford Joseph Trahan
Also known as Tommy Todd
Jericho Jones
Johnny "Pee Wee" Blaine
Johnny "Pee Wee" Trayhan
Johnny "Pee Wee" Trahan
Caleb McNutt
Born (1938-09-25)September 25, 1938
Moss Bluff, Louisiana, United States
Origin Crowley, Louisiana, United States
Died September 3, 2016(2016-09-03) (aged 77)
Rayne, Louisiana, United States
Genres
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter, mayor of Irvington, Kentucky (honorary)
Instruments
Years active 1966–2003
Labels Reb Rebel, Zynn, Todd, Flyright, Viking, Ringo, WOW, X-Rated, Wildwood, Master-Trak, AggWood, Try It Man, Johnny Rebel

Clifford Joseph "Pee Wee" 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

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

Career

His songs frequently used the racial epithet nigger and they often voiced sympathy for Jim Crow-era segregation and the Ku Klux Klan.

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 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.[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

Trahan and his wife, Ann, had been married for 56 years prior to his death. They had four children: Raye, Randal, Rhonda, and Rhett.[3]

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]

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

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

Misattributions

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

Popular reception

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.[11]

In popular culture

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.[12]

Discography

Studio albums

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

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

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 c "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. ^ "About Us". letsdrivecrowley.com. Archived from the original on 2012-04-02. 
  8. ^ a b "Is Johnny Horton Racist?". Spasticmonkeys.com. February 19, 2004. Archived from the original on January 5, 2009. 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. 
  12. ^ Internet Movie Database
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")