Tucked deep into the wilds of Wisconsin’s Dairyland, Cuca Records was the custom recording and pressing outfit for the Badger state. From its opening in 1959 to the end in 1973, Jim Kirchstein recorded nearly 2000 sides ranging from polka and gospel to country and R&B, and issued over 1000 45s on his Sara, Night Owl, Polka Dot, Top Gun, Psalms, Lucky Leprechaun, Jolly Dutchmen, Sounds of Wisconsin, Age of Aquarius, Banana, Citation, Butternut, Dee Jay, and American imprints.
Following his tour in Korea, Kirchstein returned to his hometown of Sauk City and opened a record store in the cellar of his brother’s toy store. As the business grew, so too did his interests, resulting in the lamentably-named Swastika label in 1959. RCA was manufacturing records for Kirchstein at the time, and certain workers and management took issue with the design and forced a quick rebrand. (“That was a very dumb thing I did,” Kirchstein reflected years later.) And so it was that Cuca Records was born, with Willie Tremain & The Thunderbirds’ “Midnight Express” reissued in August of that year on the new label, inspired by a nickname of his wife’s Mexican-American cousin.
Issued at Cuca's peak in 1969, Badger A Go Go was Kichstein's attempt to bring Sauk city to the world, compiling the best that Wisconsin had to offer onto one convenient LP. Soul, psych, teener, garage, R&B... one album to capture every youth-oriented environment from the sock-hop to the make-out party to the dark hours alone in the bedroom fantasizing about Cthulus and witch trials.
More from the Cuca Archive
In Cuca Country Vol. 1
The Genius Of
Mule Skinner Blues