Monday, January 28, 2008


Imagine a rawer, less-inhibited Hasil Adkins with a hit record. That’s the Legendary Stardust Cowboy. All that and he plays trumpet too.

The Legendary Stardust Cowboy was born Norman Carl Odam in Lubbock Texas in 1947. Starting at age 14, Odam started teaching himself how to sing and play music. In 1968, the Odom left his home and started driving to New York City. His intention was to try and get on the Tonight Show just like Tiny Tim. He had gotten as far as Ft. Worth where a vacuum cleaner salesman and a club owner talked him in to making a record. They took Odam to a local studio where Odom recorded one of the most unhinged records to ever make the Billboard charts. Just when you think “Paralyzed” can’t get any worse/better, there’s a trumpet solo. I smile every time I hear it.

The drummer on the record is T-Bone Burnett, who’s gone on to make some pretty good records on his own. You can hear the Ledge giving him instructions on how to play at the beginning of “Who’s Knocking On My Door”.

The record’s success didn’t get Odam on the Tonight Show. He did perform on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In though. He also got a contract with Mercury Records.

The second single is a bit more restrained but not any less weird. The words can be understood this time around. “Down In The Wrecking Yard” is a free associating love song to a wrecked car. I think. THere is a trumpet. “I Took A Trip On A Gemini Spaceship” is a love song to a woman back on earth. I think. David Bowie covered the song on his 2002 HEATHEN album. Bowie has always been a big supporter of the Legendary Stardust Cowboy, going as far as borrowing part of the Ledge’s name for a while in the early Seventies.

The last single on Mercury is almost normal sounding. The lyrics make sense, there’s strings instead of a trumpet, everybody starts & stops at the same time, no trumpet solos. The piano just might be Floyd Cramer. It wasn’t a hit. Unfortunately, my copy of the b-side “Kiss & Run” skips* so I can’t put it up here. Sorry.

The Ledge didn’t make another record until 1984. He’s still out playing.

* Yeah I know that’s never stopped me before. This skip is more like a hop, the record really is literally unplayable.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow. Thanks for the Stardust love. Much appreciated.

28/1/08 7:29 PM  
Blogger sexy said...

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3/4/09 1:33 AM  

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