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"Cutout' gets new meaning in records

Question: I am new when it comes to looking for records, and I have frequently seen a statement that I don't understand.

When someone states a record is or is not a "cutout," what do they mean? _ Bill via the Internet

Answer: With some record companies, when an album stopped selling well enough to be kept in their standard catalog (not discounted), any returns and unsold stock would be redistributed at a greatly reduced price. To easily identify this inventory, known as "cutouts," the labels permanently altered the covers in some manner.

Usually a corner would be cut at roughly a 45-degree angle, for which we have another common term: "cut corner." Cut-out albums with cut corners have the obvious cover defect, but the discs inside are not affected by the cut.

Another frequently used tactic is drilling or punching a small hole through the cover. This does not cause much concern if done in one of the corners; but, some companies drilled right through the cover and the area of the disc where the label is. This approach is not one popular with collectors.

Other methods of identifying cutouts exist, though these are the most prevalent.

Chipping away

Question: While playing golf this weekend, my partners and I found ourselves three down with four to play. We won the next hole and then the next, then someone said "We are chip, chip, chipping away." That reminded me of a '50s tune that included a hammer and chisel striking stone or metal. Will you help us with the title and artist? _ D. Hewins, Evansville, Ind.

Answer: You are surely thinking of Chip Chip, a Top 10 hit in early 1962 by Gene McDaniels (Liberty 55405). This tune, which followed two others that went Top 5 for McDaniels (A Hundred Pounds of Clay and Tower of Strength), has the lyrics you cite.

A strange fiction

Question: I have a question about a '70s album, which I think is self-titled The Masked Marauders. There was a rumor then that this group was really John Lennon, Mick Jagger and other well-known stars. Is this true? _ Jerry Stasiak, Milwaukee

Answer: Yes it is true . . . true that such a rumor existed.

However, it was merely a rumor. The Masked Marauders, whose members' real names are not yet known, did such a fine job masquerading as John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger and Bob Dylan that many bought the rumor.

The shortest of them all

Question: Some pals and I were recently debating about the shortest hit song title ever. We decided to let you settle it for us. _ Kharlena Lange, Southern, Conn.

Answer: Disregarding parenthetical sub-titles, the answer is I. This one will be hard to beat, since no title could contain less than one letter.

I first became a hit in 1963, for Ben E. King, with remakes scattered over the next 16 years. Those who later scored with I include: Terry Knight & the Pack (1967); Tom Jones (1970); Liquid Smoke (1970); and Sylvester (1979).

For the record, with sub-title, this one reads I (Who Have Nothing).

+ + +

IZ ZAT SO? Two Grand Funk Railroad stars, Mark Farner and Don Brewer, made up The Pack, that backed Terry Knight on their 1967 hit, I (Who Have Nothing).

Just to keep things in the family _ or in this case Pack _ Terry Knight managed and produced Grand Funk Railroad.

Jerry Osborne answers as many questions as possible through this column. Write Jerry at Box 255, Port Townsend, WA 98368, e-mail: jojerryosborne.com, or visit his Web site: http://www. jerryosborne.com. All values quoted in this column are for near-mint condition.

2000, World Features Syndicate Inc.

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