Cuca Records

Cuca Records

Cuca Records of Sauk City, Wisconsin was founded by James Kirchstein in 1959 and actively produced LP and 45 rpm recordings until the early 1970s. During this period Cuca recorded and released primarily polka and ethnic music on LP but also issued other musical styles including pop, rhythm and blues, folk, and traditional jazz. Most musicians recorded by Cuca were from Wisconsin or adjacent states. Consequently, Cuca's recorded documents represent a focused view of Wisconsin musical performance during these years.

The Cuca studios recorded performers for commercial release on other popular record labels as well. Its recording of "Mule Skinner Blues" by The Fendermen (released as a 45 rpm on the Soma label) rose to number five on the Billboard charts in 1960 and sold over a million copies, and its recording of Birdlegs and Pauline's tune, "Spring" (released on the Vee-Jay label) rose to number 18 on the Rhythm and Blues charts. Other notable musicians recorded by Cuca include bluesman Earl Hooker, the pop group Corporation, country music legend Pee Wee King, and jazz musician Doc Dehaven. Cuca, which adopted the slogan "World's Largest Line of Old Time Music," is widely known for the host of polka and ethnic musicians it recorded including Alvin Styczynski, Verne Meisner, Syl Liebl, the Goose Island Ramblers, John Check, Jerry Goetsch, Roger Bright, and the Edelweiss Stars, to name a few.

The Cuca Record Collection forms part of the Wisconsin Music Archives, a non-circulating special collection in the Mills Music Library. Individual recordings in this collection are only listed in the accompanying database and will not be found in MadCat, the online catalog for the University of Wisconsin Libraries. Users may request to listen to any recording in the collection at the library's Audio Facility.

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