The Legendary Stardust Cowboy - Tokyo [Cracked Piston Recordings, 2002]

Recently the Legendary Stardust Cowboy released his new album Tokyo. ‘The Ledge’, as he is fondly known as by his fans, made his debut some 34 years ago, when he released a single called Paralyzed. The reason why a major label like Mercury released a totally insane rock & roll song like Paralyzed at a time when flower power was at its peak will probably remain a mystery for ever. Fact is that ever since his first release the Ledge has made a handful of singles and LPs, which can all be roughly classed as rockabilly. However, you might just as well call it punk. The Legendary Stardust Cowboy, born in Texas in 1947 as Norman Carl Odam, is fierce and wild. He screams, wheezes and moans his songs, if need be he whistles or even yodels them. He sings like Frank Sinatra. Like Frank Sinatra on speed and with a chronic cold that is! The accompanying bands play trashy and incoherent. Any comparisons with fellow trash rocker Hasil Adkins would surely not be out of place here.

Norman started singing when he was very young, hoping to attract the attention of the local girls. Sadly, his attempt failed miserably. As a teenager he taught himself to play the guitar, the drums, kazoo and bugle. His repertoire at that time included covers of country songs by Johnny Cash and Buck Owens. Shortly after, he managed to combine his love for the Wild West and space travel and adopted the name of Legendary Stardust Cowboy.

Actually, the fact that the Ledge was initially signed up by Mercury has changed the history of pop music quite a bit. When a certain David Bowie signed a contract with the same company in 1970, he received a pile of singles as a sort of welcome present. These included Paralyzed. Bowie got fascinated by the record and decided to use part of the Legendary Stardust Cowboy name for his own character Ziggy Stardust. On his new album the Ledge completes the circle by performing a cover of Bowie’s Space Oddity in his own typical way. The other 12 tracks are good old rock & roll as well. The fact that in one of his songs on the album he mentions the name of Britney Spears proves that the Legendary Stardust Cowboy wasn’t born yesterday! Or to put it in his own words: whaaaaahooooooo!!!!

Marco Kalnenek

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The Legendary Stardust Cowboy - Tokyo