Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Cuca Records at the Mills Music Library

One of the things I love most about my job as the Ethnic American Music Curator in the Mills Music Library at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is that we get an acquisitions budget each year and I am allowed to spend part of it on things I feel make important contributions to the Wisconsin Music Archives. Among my various projects within that mission is completing the Cuca Records catalog. There are so many incredible records on this Sauk City, WI label and its subsidiaries, and fortunately the founder--Jim Kirchstein--is still around to talk about it with us (or, as it were last week, with Bill Malone on his Back to the Country program on radio station WORT--which was recorded and archived in the Wisconsin Music Archives). Here are just a few of the gems I have acquired for the Mills Music Library within the past month, but if anyone else has any Cuca Records for sale, please do let me know. More importantly, if anybody wants to hear these records or take on a Cuca-related research project, come visit us at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Memorial Library. So far we've tracked down 293 45s and over 100 Cuca LPs, but there's still a pretty good way to go before the collection is complete.


Monday, May 22, 2017

Recording in Austin, TX with Frankie Miller and Friends

There are good days. And there are great days. And sometimes even phenomenal days. And then there are the kind of days like my May 15th when you go to Austin, TX to catch up with old friends and you decide to book a recording session at Cris Burns's Ameripolitan Studios with some of your favorite musician pals and you invite Starday (and Columbia and 4star/Gilt-Edge and Stop and United Artists) recording star Frankie Miller to the session and he with his daughter and son-in-law and grandson drive three hours each way so that he can sing some duets with you 

and they turn out dynamite and then Frankie hands you a welcome to Texas gift-bag that includes your most wanted LP and he signs it to you 

and then Dale Watson comes by to check out the session 

and then your friend and the daughter of Arlie Duff (Starday's first ever star) comes by and takes some really cool photographs of the session (thanks again, Kristy!) and then you have an amazing Mexican dinner with dear friends 

and then your buddy puts you on the guest list to see him and Heybale tear it up at the Continental Club and at the show you see several friends you haven't seen in 10 or more years and even some friends from the ARSC conference in San Antonio the previous week and you dance all night 

and, to sum it up succinctly, a grand time is had by all. That was my kind of day last week. Too good for words, really. I can't wait to share the recordings with everyone once the new project is ready. Until then, I give my many thanks to everyone who made it such a special day: Tom and Rose Umberger, Cris Burns, Kevin Smith, Bobby Trimble, Bobby Horton, Frankie Miller, Sandra and Greg and Nathan Wilson, Bear, Dale Watson, Kristy Duff Wallace, Redd Volkaert, Dallas Wayne, Bobby and Stephanie Marlar, Jennifer Lee Vaughn, Steve Ramm, and of course, my mother.