Thursday, 12 September 2013

The Legendary Stardust Cowboy

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ME: But honey, it's a prime example of Outsider Music! A raw talent on display!

WIFE: But it sounds like shit!!!!!

Each to their own, I guess.

The Legendary Stardust Cowboy is nothing if not unique. He does what it says on the tin, really:

  • He's legendary (probably for all the wrong reasons, or maybe because of those same reasons!)
  • He dresses like a cowboy
  • He's obsessed with stars and space travel.

He is certainly a raw talent: unhinged, unhampered by commercial expectation, unthreatened by success. Let's face it - he's completely unbalanced and unstable! And, he considers himself to be a serious musician.

His one hit single "Paralyzed" was allegedly recorded in 10 minutes of studio down-time during 1968 with just the producer playing drums and the Ledge (as he is known to fans) playing everything else. It sounds like a class of second-graders playing a game of Bullrush (or British Bulldogs or "Red Rover Cross Over" depending on where you're from) through the studio. Or a couple of escaped loonies losing their shit with expensive musical equipment. Despite that glowing praise, it is completely life affirming, while being totally hilarious all at once.

The Ledge claims he started singing in high school as a way of meeting girls. Take a listen to "Paralyzed" below. How successful do you think he was?

Routinely lambasted as the worst record ever made, "Paralyzed" sounds like the Cavalry falling over a 100-foot cliff. It is completely nuts.

The success of the record led to an appearance on "Laugh In" but it wasn't all to his liking. The hosts, and the cast were laughing at him, not with him, and after playing his second song on the show he got mad and stormed off. Watch for yourself below:

He only ever released a few more singles in 1968-1969 and then was dormant until about 1981 when he resurfaced with a new version of Paralyzed. He did a few records later for Cherry Red records, and then released an anthology which he named in honour of his most famous fans: "For Sarah [Ferguson], Racquel [Welch] and David [Bowie]: An Anthology" which covered his entire career.

Still, there are plenty more performances of the man, including semi-legendary tracks like "I Took A Trip In A Gemini Spaceship" (covered by David Bowie) and "My Underwear Froze To The Clothesline" among others. And he's still out there, doing gigs with a band called the Altamont Boys, featuring Klaus Flouride of the Dead Kennedys. Here's a clip of the man with the Altamont Boys in action just a few months ago in Oakland, California:

Enjoy the odd magic of "The Ledge", The Legendary Stardust Cowboy.

"My Underwear Froze To The Clothesline":

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