More than two decades after it was recorded, a cover of Blondie’s “One Way or Another,” with vocals by Jack White, has been unearthed from a cassette and made available for internet listening.
Recorded in 1997 by metro Detroit band 400 Pounds of Punk as an unlisted, hidden track on a cassette titled He Once Ate a Small Child, the Blondie cover features the band’s lead singer Jamie Cherry and White—who was their session engineer—on vocals. While the White Stripes was founded that same year, it’s not clear whether this cassette was released before or after that.
Ben Blackwell, co-founder of White’s label and vinyl empire Third Man Records, put the song online as part of an essay for the music database-slash-marketplace Discogs. In “Why Cassettes are the New 45s,” Blackwell—who is also White’s nephew—argues for cassettes as the next frontier for non-mainstream music and underground, un-digitized genres.
Blackwell also spends some time waxing lyrical over the cassettes he collected decades ago—and those he missed out on—before unveiling the Blondie cover from what he deems “the most noteworthy cassette in my pile.”
He Once Ate a Small Child “is, as far as I can tell, the rarest physical release of a Jack White performance,” he writes. “And prior to the mention here, the release was completely undocumented. I doubt more than a half-dozen people even knew about it.”
Props to Blackwell for making this morsel of Detroit punk and rock history available for the world to hear. Listen to the cover below: