Rockin' in Wisconsin: The Cuca Records Story, Vol. 3

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
The small Cuca label, based in the equally small town of Sauk City, Wisconsin, is known mostly for releasing the original version of the Fendermen's "Mule Skinner Blues" included here, which became a number five hit in 1960 after being re-recorded for Soma. Cuca went on to record several hundred singles in various styles, including some mid- to late-'60s garage rock and psychedelia that has been anthologized elsewhere. This particular 30-song compilation, however, concentrates on rock & roll and rockabilly cut for the label between the tail end of the '50s and the mid-'60s, none of which got heard outside the region and little of which, actually, got heard within...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Richie Unterberger
The small Cuca label, based in the equally small town of Sauk City, Wisconsin, is known mostly for releasing the original version of the Fendermen's "Mule Skinner Blues" included here, which became a number five hit in 1960 after being re-recorded for Soma. Cuca went on to record several hundred singles in various styles, including some mid- to late-'60s garage rock and psychedelia that has been anthologized elsewhere. This particular 30-song compilation, however, concentrates on rock & roll and rockabilly cut for the label between the tail end of the '50s and the mid-'60s, none of which got heard outside the region and little of which, actually, got heard within the region. As is par for the course with comps of obscure regional releases, you'd never put this stuff on a level with Gene Vincent or Eddie Cochran, and much of the material has a by-numbers feel common to musicians struggling on the bottom rungs of the ladder. It's above average for these sort of compilations, however, for a few reasons. The performances usually do have a likable, guileless energy and conviction, and Cuca's studio did get a better, more professional sound than many similar shoestring outfits did. Plus, the tracks serve as quite fascinating, and fairly enjoyable, documentary evidence that there were plenty of combos rocking away in the hinterlands in a '50s-derived style during the years in which such "real" rock & roll had supposedly died with Buddy Holly. If for nothing else, it would have value for containing the rare original version of "Mule Skinner Blues," which is extremely similar to the familiar hit re-recording, though the re-recording is better produced and has more reverb. But some of the other cuts are respectably exciting in their own right, especially the 1963 cover of Bill Monroe-by-way-of-Gene Vincent's "Rocky Road Blues" by the Muleskinners, led by ex-Fenderman Jim Sindquist. Their sound on this explosive rockabilly number especially on the instrumental break is rather reminiscent of the treatment the Beatles gave to numbers like Carl Perkins' "Everybody's Trying to Be My Baby." Not that the Muleskinners would have been influenced by the Beatles or vice versa, but when you can be mentioned in the same sentence as the Beatles without embarrassment in any context, it's a feather in your cap. The influence of Gene Vincent in particular is surprisingly pervasive, both in the style and some of the specific songs, including a fine cover of Joe South's "I Might Have Known" learned from Vincent's cover by the Teen Kings. A few other tracks have a more R&B or country-oriented sound, though certainly nothing on here is slick. That goes double for "Janice," the rare B-side of the Fendermen's original attempt at "Mule Skinner Blues," a threadbare demo-like recording with nothing more than a forlorn vocal and electric guitar.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/21/2006
  • Label: Ace Records Uk
  • UPC: 029667023429
  • Catalog Number: 1136

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Bitter Feelings - Larry Phillipson and the Larry Lee Trio (2:18)
  2. 2 Rocky Road Blues - The Muleskinners (2:12)
  3. 3 Bad News - Rhythm Rockers (2:23)
  4. 4 Love Trap - Ronnie Premier (1:49)
  5. 5 Meet Me by My Locker - Ronnie Premier (2:10)
  6. 6 Rockin' Fool - The Montereys (1:40)
  7. 7 Say Mama - Grand Prixx (2:18)
  8. 8 Gonna Take My Guitar - Bobby Hodge (2:27)
  9. 9 Little Hero - Jimmy Dawson (2:01)
  10. 10 No, No - Kenny Bee (2:01)
  11. 11 Red Wine - 5 Chords (2:54)
  12. 12 Daisy Mae - 5 Chords (2:02)
  13. 13 I Love You, Patricia - Supremes Four (2:45)
  14. 14 You're Alright - Kenny King (2:37)
  15. 15 Mule Skinner Blues - The Fendermen (2:21)
  16. 16 What's All This? - Bob Mattice and the Phaetons (1:33)
  17. 17 Peepin' and Hidin' (Baby What You Want Me to Do) - Dave Kennedy and the Ambassadors (3:18)
  18. 18 I Might Have Known - The Teen Kings (2:03)
  19. 19 Little Baby - Ray Kannon and the Corals (1:36)
  20. 20 I'm Wondering Now - Larry Phillipson and the Larry Lee Trio (2:05)
  21. 21 Aw Shucks - Robin Lee and the Lavenders (2:31)
  22. 22 Orbit Rock - The Orbits (1:54)
  23. 23 Mama Say Blue - First Garrison (2:12)
  24. 24 Never Gonna Let Him Go - Karen Wells (2:00)
  25. 25 I'm So Blue (1:31)
  26. 26 So Loved Am I - Ronnie Premier (2:16)
  27. 27 Little Sheila (She, She Little Sheila) - Darnells (2:15)
  28. 28 Jingle Jump - Danny Peil and the Tigers (1:56)
  29. 29 I'm Movin' On - Jimmy Sun and the Radiants (2:06)
  30. 30 Janice - The Fendermen (2:32)
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Album Credits

Technical Credits
Hank Snow Composer
Joe South Composer
Dwight "Whitey" Pullen Composer
Johnny Earl Composer
George Vaughn Composer
James Dawson Composer
Jerry Merritt Composer
Johnny Thomas Meeks Composer
Robert J. Hodge Composer
Larry Lee Phillipson & The Westerneers Composer
Ray Kannon and the Corals Composer
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