His songs frequently use the racial epithet nigger and often voice sympathy for Jim Crow-era segregation and the Ku Klux Klan. Nearly all his songs serve as platforms for denigrating African Americans and the civil rights movement.
Trahan first recorded under the Johnny Rebel moniker in the mid-1960s, when the civil rights movement and black empowerment movement reached their zeniths. 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 five more singles for the label, which included "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."
At least two of Trahan's songs, "Keep a-Workin' Big Jim" and "(Federal Aid Hell!) The Money Belongs to Us," were not about race, but about political issues — namely, the efforts of Louisiana district attorney Jim Garrison to solve the Kennedy assassination and U.S. monetary assistance to foreign countries.
Two of these songs were eventually issued in album format by Reb Rebel Records under the title "For Segregationists Only".
Trahan has never allowed himself to be photographed by anyone other than close friends and family, though he claims there are indeed images of him on the Internet. He says he has no idea where those photos originated. A CD compilation of his works simply shows a hooded Klansman together with a depiction of the Confederate Battle Flag.
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.
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