Johnny Rebel is best known for writing and recording songs which are examples of extreme racial bigotry or politically incorrect humour, depending on your point of view. With "Keep A Workin' Big Jim" he manages to combine inadvertent humor with a different type of ignorance.
On November 22, 1963, the most spectacular assassination in history occurred when Lee Harvey Oswald, a little man with big, unfulfilled ambitions, murdered the most powerful man in the world. The Kennedy Assassination is without a shadow of a doubt not only the most thoroughly documented and researched crime in history. Shortly after shooting and killing the President, and nearly killing Governor Connally, Oswald was challenged by a police officer, and murdered him in cold blood. After being formally arraigned for the murder of Officer J.D. Tippit and then the murder of the President, he was in the process of being transferred to jail when he was gunned down by night club owner and small time hustler Jack Ruby.
There was of course nothing inherently implausible in the belief that Oswald had not been the proverbial lone wolf, especially when his bizarre history came out. And it was to be expected there would be a massive official investigation. On November 29, Kennedy's successor, Lyndon B. Johnson set up The President's Commission On The Assassination Of President Kennedy, known universally as The Warren Commission after Chief Justice Earl Warren. Working at breakneck speed, the Commission published its final report the following September; it ran to nearly 900 pages. Besides this there were 26 volumes of supporting documents including evidence from over 500 witnesses. The Commission's conclusion was that Oswald had acted entirely alone; the idea that someone as insignificant and as inconsequential as Oswald could have single-handedly plotted and murdered the most powerful man in the world was not an easy fact for many people to swallow, and some never did.
District Attorney Jim Garrison was one of the first so-called conspiracy theorists to turn his attention to the assassination, and one of the most bizarre, because not only did he claim that Oswald didn't shoot the President (although he was part of the conspiracy), he claimed Kennedy was shot from at least three different directions and that the entire operation was directed by the CIA. If this were true, it remains to be seen why an obscure New Orleans businessman named Clay Shaw should have masterminded it. Incredibly, Garrison managed to indict Shaw and bring him to trial on perjured evidence.
Never mind that Oswald had also murdered Officer Tippit, never mind that it was his rifle which he bought legitimately via mail order, never mind that he had been photographed posing with it - photographs he claimed were fakes; never mind that his prints were all over the weapon and that credible witnesses placed him on the sixth floor of the building where he had built a sniper's nest and where the murder weapon was found, Oswald said he was a patsy, so it must be so.
The trial of Clay Shaw opened on January 29, 1969, and ended on March 1, the jury deliberating for barely an hour before acquitting him. The strength of Garrison's case against Shaw is probably best indicated by the fact that the businessman was actually granted bail, the first and undoubtedly the last time that happens for someone charged with murdering a head of state.
Garrison was immortalised in the Oliver Stone film JFK.
Nick from Sacramento, Ca, UsaOn the flipside of this 45rpm single is Johnny Rebel's only other non-racist polemic: "Federal Aid (Hell! The Money Belongs To Us)", which is a protest about the efficacy of the "Great Society" government programs.