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Lonesome Crow

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  • 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.

    Posted on December 3, 2009