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Lonesome Crow

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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.

    Posted on December 3, 2009