This album is the least known to Scopions fans in general and that is a real shame. If I had to pick my favorite Scopions recording it would be Lonesome Crow. Featuring then 15-year old Michael Schenker on guitar, “Lonesome Crow” is a hypnotic journey into a richly- textured soundscape. The mystical songs are washed in a myriad of swirling, ambient tonal colors and shades. The bass and drums work expertly to blend jazz and rock influences to provide a vehicle for Schenker’s enigmatic , classically-influenced solos. If you are a Scorpions fan and you like the older ones like “In Trance” , get this one. You’ll be happy you did.
Lonesome Crow is not just merely the first album from Germany’s Number 1 Hard Rock export, but also the first ever Brain release, issued in 1972. Lonesome Crow is both highly coveted by record Collectors for the famous catalog number of Brain 1001 and also because it presents the Scorpions in a way we would never hear them again; rough and ready, with surprising twists and turns and unusual song structures. One can clearly hear the legendary talent and chemistry between Michael & Rudolf Schenker who were still ”united in rock” at the time. Lonesome Crow certainly belongs in every music lovers’ collection.
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Most of the comments the Scorpions’ first effort, ‘Lonesome Crow’, are right on here. At first I fully expected a raw, primitive sound similar to that of ‘Fly to the Rainbow’ and ‘In Trance’. Instead, I got an earful first listening to this somewhat experimental work, which is far, far more sophisticated than anything that they have done since. I find myself listening to ‘Lonesome Crow’ over and over again, trying to figure it out. This one certainly bears repeated listenings, as there is a lot going on here. Everyone who knows and loves the Scorpions from their 80’s heyday knows how polished their special brand of driving hard rock ‘n’ roll became after Tokyo Tapes in ‘78. Starting with ‘Lovedrive’ in ‘79 (my favorite of their newer material), ‘Animal Magnetism’, ‘Blackout’, etc., It is pretty clear looking back how the Scorpions continued to refine their sound with glossier production coupled with simpler, shorter song arrangements and a more focused, driving hard-edge to their sound. It’s almost like they backed-up after making Lonesome Crow, only to focus and refine a decidely more loud and straightforward sound.If ‘Lovedrive’ is classic 80’s heavy metal, then ‘Lonesome Crow’ must be seen as the peak of their creative ability. Indeed, it is like nothing that I have ever heard before. The Sabbath influence is there (just listen to the excellent bassist wax Geezer Butler-esque), and the drums are equally solid. This record is like a black orchid on a dark purple background, and the atmosphere it generates is tremendous. It is also a showcase of musicianship. No offense to Rarebell, etc., but the Scorpions should never have gotten rid of their bass/drums section, who really shine on this, the only Scorps album on which they performed. The variety of rhythms and layering of sounds is something to note on repeated listenings.Klaus Meine (then Meiner) is in top form here, and his haunting vocals really help set the dark mood. Certainly one of the top voices in 80’s Rock, he is given more range on ‘Lonesome Crow’, and really shows off his expression and range. Perhaps his english wasn’t that strong at the time, but even though many of the vocals are unintelligable (especially on the title track)he uses his voice like an instrument, which is fine considering the fact that actual lyrics are pretty sparse in this 70% instrumental experiment in sound. The guitar work just confirms that Michael Schenker at age 16 was clearly a musical prodigy and extraordinary talent.My favorite tracks are ‘Inheritance’, ‘Leave Me’, and the title track, ‘Lonesome Crow’. Surely the latter I would consider possibly the Scorps’ Magnum Opus. Consisting of over 13 minutes of varied movements, extended Michael Schenker soloing and Meiner’s even-then vocal brilliance (did he have classical training pre-Scorps? ), it brilliantly concludes the whole CD as a single, almost seamless body of work.
A far cry from the BLACKOUT and LOVEDRIVE sound, LONESOME CROW is definately an original on it’s own. Some may even call it a masterpiece. This isn’t for every Scorpions fan out there, it’s an album that is dark, heavy, soulful, and down right bizarre. At the time of it’s release, the Jimi Hendrix and the blues/jazz sound really dominated the airwaves and had a great effect on rock-n-roll. This is definately prevolent through out every track. This album showcases the incredible amount of talent each member possessed, especially Michael Schneker. Never on any UFO or MSG album have you heard Michael unleash his musical wizardry like this. The title track, “Action” and “It All Depends” highlights Michael’s musical brilliance. Definately some of his best solos ever. The vocals of Klaus Meine are also something to behold. “I’m Goin’ Mad” really shows off what Meine was made of before the commercial sound of the 80’s. This album is a must have.
There was an interesting book published a few years back entitled “Riff Kills Man.” It was an exhaustive series of reviews for about a thousand hard rock/heavy metal albums. I agreed with the author on virtually every review. I then read his review of the Scorpions’ first-ever album “Lonesome Crow.” He royally ripped the album. I threw the book in the trash.”Lonesome Crow” is a strange sort of musical madness. It has NO resemblance to anything else done by the Scorpions. Other than Meine’s vocals, nothing will sound Scorpionsesque. And even the vocals are a different sort of primal angst.I’ve often thought that so much of the monumental brilliance which can be attributed to the Beatles and the Stones has as its origin the post-World War II vibe which must have permeated England: a renewed sense of hope, optimism, a sense of thankfulness that they all survived Hitler and his menace. It was an environment of rebirth and expansion. The vibe and environment in Germany would have been the flip side: regret, dread, guilt, shame. Now, obviously, the members of the Scorpions would have been too young to have had any first-hand involvement in the War, but they grew up in a country which was getting re-oriented to its new role in the world. “Lonesome Crow” seems to capture some of the dark malaise and anger which must have consumed many young people who were born into all the turbulence.I envision the album being recorded in some old warehouse which had twenty-some years earlier withstood the bombing as the manufacture of daggers and medals continued unabated within its thin corrugated steel walls. The Flying-V became an acceptable metaphor for rage and power and ambition as Germans with real weapons were anathema. The weird complex of emotions in a young German was something that could be best expressed in the sound of scorched-Earth electric guitar.”Lonesome Crow” is–I fancy–the sixties devolution of what had previously been Soaring Eagle in the thirties. It is a sonic period-masterpiece. Sure, the later and more commercial Scorps is good nasty rock, but this is pure, historically significant music which is so distinct and penetrating that it ought to be on display at the Smithsonian. It is a post-War, Cold War, high-volume communique to the world that Germany would never put down her arms.
First off let me repeat what another reviewer has said of this cd. This is not The Scorpions that put out songs such as “Rock You Like A Hurricane” or “No One Like You”! Granted several of the original members (Klause Meine, and Rudolf Schenker) remianed in the band but that’s it. This cd represents a very young Scorpions. I hear some Black Sabbath influences from the then young guitarist extroardinaire Michael Schenker (16 years old). The drums and bass section in this band are the best that I’ve heard from The Scorpions. I agree with the above reviewer in that Wolfgang Dziony is a better drummer than Herman Rarebell and bassist Lothar Heimberg is a terrific bass player. Too bad these memebers didn’t remain with The Scorpions throughout their RCA label days. I still prefer The 70’s sounding Scorpions over the eighties rock they created. Albums such as “Fly To The Rainbow”, “In Trance”, and “Virgin Killer” are classics. Too bad RCA here in the U.S. doesn’t get on the ball and remaster and re-issue those cd’s. Now back to this cd. Songs such as the title track “Lonesome Crow”( at over 13 mins. long) are very guitar driven and the song itself is progressive in The Jethro Tull vein. Another standout cut is “In Search Of The Piece Of Mind”. This is an acoustic guitar driven track with Klause Meine sounding topnotch as ever and Michael Schenker as usual adds his special guitar touch. The song “I’m Going Mad” has a nice chant at the beginning with Meine’s vocals reduced somewhat. The chant continues through most of the song. And I can’t help but hear that Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath) guitar influence in Schenker’s playing. The remaining songs are also excellent but I repeat this cd is not for everyone. If you enjoy progressive and unusual sounding rock then pick this classic up before it becomes deleted. Highly recommended.