Box Full of Letters from Issue #16
So where is there “No Depression”?
This will probably seem like a stupid question, but where can I find a recording of the Carter Family singing “No Depression”? I liked the cover version of this song on Uncle Tupelo’s debut album a lot, and I have been looking for a recording of the original. Do you know any record, CD, or tape that contains the Carters singing this song? For obvious reasons, you seemed like the people to ask. I appreciate any information you can give me. Thanks for your time.
— Jeff Schultz
New Orleans, Louisiana
Editor’s note: Actually, Jeff, this is far from a stupid question. We looked long and wide for the Carter Family’s version of the song for quite some time, to no avail. We’d assumed it would eventually surface on the series of Carter Family reissues that Rounder has been releasing over the past couple years, but the final installments just came out in April, with “No Depression” still conspicuously absent.
However: Several months ago, a friend tipped us off to the Carter Fold, a Carter Family museum and music venue in southern Virginia [see “A Place To Be”, ND #13, Jan.-Feb. ’98]. Lo and behold, the Fold had a record called The Original Carter Family: From 1936 Radio Transcripts, which contained the elusive original version of “No Depression”. We immediately mail-ordered two copies on vinyl for ourselves. As it turned out, these were the final two vinyl copies they had.
However, the album is still available from the Fold on cassette (no CDs have ever been issued). For mail-ordering information, write the Carter Family Memorial Music Center, Box 111, Hiltons, VA 24258, or call 540-386-9480.
By coincidence, I discovered 16 Horsepower the same day I found a copy of your Jan.-Feb. ’98 issue, which featured an interview with the band. I enjoyed the piece, but was also disappointed by it. Usually, everything I read in No Depression about any artist includes some sort of family tree of who’s been in what, who’s played with whom, and who’s influenced whom, which can be really helpful. But this time, there was a glaring omission.
I only discovered 16 Horsepower via a cross-reference on the computer at the local HMV Megastore from an obscure band that I love but can’t find any information about: Passion Fodder. I stumbled across this great Trans-Atlantic band and their twisted and incredibly literate rock ‘n’ roll when they were part of a sampler record that came with a Go-Betweens album. I have three CDs of theirs (the latest dated 1989), but they’re nowhere to be found in any music book I’ve ever seen, and I know damn little about them.
I guess they are no longer a band because the rhythm section of Pascal Humbert and Jean-Yves Tola now back up David Eugene Edwards in 16 Horsepower, which is great. But I was still disappointed that what I thought for sure would be a chance to see the name Passion Fodder in print failed. Of course, if you print this letter, then I will see it in print, but I won’t learn anything.
— Ron Koperdraad
Editor’s note: Well, how ’bout it? anyone out there know anything about Passion Fodder? if you do, let us know, and we’ll pass it along…