Johnny Rebel is the pseudonym of Cajun country musician Clifford Joseph Trahan (born October 3, 1938), also known as Pee Wee Trahan. Trahan has used this pseudonym most notably on racist recordings issued in the 1960s on J. D. "Jay" Miller's Reb Rebel label of Crowley, Louisiana.
His songs frequently use the racial epithet nigger and often voice sympathy for Jim Crow-era segregation and the Ku Klux Klan.
Trahan first recorded under the Johnny Rebel moniker 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." Some of Trahan's songs are not strictly about race. For example "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.
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.
Two of these songs were eventually issued in album format by Reb Rebel Records under the title "For Segregationists Only".
After a hiatus of about three decades, Trahan returned as Johnny Rebel in 2001 when he issued his CD single "Infidel Anthem," recorded in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks. In 2003 Trahan released the album It's the Attitude, Stupid!, on the Try It Man record label. At least two persons or entities claim ownership of the Johnny Rebel catalog. At present, however, it is unclear who actually owns the recordings.
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.
Trahan has 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. Coe wrote some racist songs, most notably "Nigger Fucker" on his Underground Album.
Some of Johnny Rebel songs have also been misattributed to Johnny Horton, an American country music and rockabilly singer. The confusion comes 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".