Various Artists (Cuca Records)

The History Books will tell you all you need to know about the great recording centres of the past such as Nashville, New Orleans, Memphis and Chicago, as well as the hit factories of New York and Detroit in the days when recording locales retained distinctive individual characteristics. Yet, there are parts of America that hardly figure at all in the annals of rock'n'roll and the farming state of Wisconsin in the upper mid-West is one of them. It is the state rock'n'roll forgot. Even neighbouring Minnesota gets a look in, mainly because Bob Dylan came from there, while remote North Dakota attracts a passing mention as the State where Buddy Holly met his end in a plane crash. Wisconsin, on the other hand, is more famous for the breweries of Milwaukee and its dairy produce than for its contribution to music.

Amid this oasis of indifference, Sauk City record-store owner and electronics buff, Jim Kirchstein, set up a small studio cum-label-cum-workshop, which came to dominate the Wisconsin recording scene for a decade without the benefit of publicity or very many hits. Several hundred singles ranging in style from rock to country to polkas were released on Kirchstein's Cuca label and its subsidiaries during that time, and dozens of young Wisconsin musicians owed him their start.

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