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Jim Kirchstein

Jim Kirchstein founded Cuca Information, perhaps one of the most renowned and prolific separate labels from the 1960s. Regarding to Sarah Filzen’s background of Cuca (obtainable online on the School of Wisconsin-Madison’s internet site, http://www.library.wisc.edu/), Kirchstein was created March 31, 1931, in Florida. A calendar year afterwards, his family came back to its indigenous Sauk Town, WI, where he’d ultimately play trumpet in his senior high school music group. After graduation, Kirchstein enlisted in the U.S. Navy, where in the a few months of the four-year tour of responsibility he taught consumer electronics in NORTH PARK. After exiting the armed service he studied electric engineering education in the College or university of Wisconsin-Madison, concurrently starting the Hi-Fi Record Store, a music retail store situated in the cellar of his brother’s Sauk Town plaything and hobby shop. As a store, Kirchstein quickly discovered the intricacies of record advertising and distribution, and he started acquiring second-hand documenting products with an attention toward starting his own studio room; his strategy reached fruition in 1959, when he discovered from the demise of Milwaukee-based Phau Information and immediately bought its remaining resources, including a huge selection of unique expert recordings and acetate-cutting products. Setting up store in Hi-Fi’s currently cramped quarters, Kirchstein lower his first record — nation vocalist Don Chambers’ “Using Down the Canyon” — in past due 1959, pressing up 300 copies via RCA. He dubbed his fresh label Swastika, still symbolic of all the best to Sauk City’s mainly German human population, but RCA’s pressing flower workers blanched in the recognized Nazi affiliation and Kirchstein quickly rechristened the opportunity Cuca, the nickname of his wife’s cousin. When Cuca’s third launch, the Fendermen’s rockabilly cover from the Jimmie Rodgers regular “Mule Skinner Blues,” the label captured open fire. Kirchstein mailed copies to a huge selection of radio channels over the U.S., making a local hit in a number of areas through the entire Midwest. When RCA demonstrated unable to press a fresh pressing into its plan, Kirchstein leased the Fendermen’s get better at to Minneapolis-based Soma Information, which released the solitary nationally and obtained a Billboard TOP strike in the springtime of 1960. After Soma owner Amos Heilicher withheld a lot of Cuca’s anticipated royalties, Kirchstein threatened litigation, and the firms ultimately resolved out of courtroom for 50,000 dollars, plenty of for Cuca to release its own posting arm and create a brand-new studio. The achievement of “Mule Skinner Blues” combined with comparative scarcity of documenting outlet stores in the south central Wisconsin region combined to create Cuca the destination of music artists over the Midwest. Pop hitmaker Bobby Vee, bluesman Earl Hooker, R&B vocalist Jan Bradley, and nation star Pee Wee Ruler all documented there, as do little-remembered bluegrass, blues, and gospel works from locales near and considerably. In every, Cuca trim about 2,000 singles and 150 LPs during its 14-calendar year existence, most of them representing either regional rock and roll or polka rings; in 1964, Kirchstein also founded his very own FM radio place, WVLR, juxtaposing live broadcasts with play lists dominated by Cuca produces. The venture hardly broke even, nevertheless, and he marketed his interest 3 years afterwards. Soon afterward, unbiased record distributor Midwest proceeded to go bankrupt, owing Cuca 15,000 dollars — approximately fifty percent of its total income for half a year. The same destiny after that befell another distributor, GRT, once again owing Kirchstein cash he would under no circumstances recover. In tandem having a influx of industry loan consolidation and a drop popular for the type of polka and old-time information the label frequently released, Cuca’s fortunes continuing to plummet, so when in 1972 the College or university of Wisconsin provided Kirchstein a full-time executive position, he approved, shuttering the label the next year.

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