Lonesome Crow is the Scorpions' debut studio album. After several slow years, the band finally got their first record deal under the Brain label, a newly founded record company in Germany. The album features frontman Klaus Meine on vocals, Rudolph Schenker on rythm guitar, Lothar Heimberg on bass, Wolfgang Dziony on drums, and a 17-year old Michael Schenker on lead guitar.
To start this review off, the album is stylistically and musically different from anything the Scorpions would later release. It is clearly influenced by the psychedelic rock scene that was widespread throughout the late 1960s, but with that touch of European influence that sets it apart from the British and American rock styles. This genre is known as Krautrock, which is an experimental genre that incorporates groove and funk.
The album starts of with the smashing "I'm Goin' Mad", arguably the album's best track. It starts of with a paced and rythmic drum segment, and is soon joined by R. Schenker's and Heimberg's catchy rythmic work, which, albeit great, simply accompanies M. Schenker's guitar skills, providing the audience with a symphony of rock. When the guitar stops, Meine takes the microphone to sing an escalating vocal segement, which is later repeated at the end of the song. Overall, it truly shows the band's potential, however most of rest of the album would unfortunately go downhill from here, though it isn't a particularly steep decline.
The next two tracks are, unfortunately, rather disappoiting. In "It All Depends" and "Leave Me", Meine barely even has a presence, and it is rather weak, as opposed to his singing in the first track. "Leave Me" just seems to stride on this eerie feeling, and M. Schenker's guitar work is boring. Meine's vocals sound like he was trying to down away his thoughts with an LSD tablet. Despite this, credit must be given to Dziony, as his drumming manages to prevent these tracks from boring us to sleep, as he keeps up a great rythm with both tracks.
After these strange and enigmatic interludes comes "In Search of the Peace of Mind", which is probably the most engaging and interesting track of the album. It starts off with a rather irrelevant guitar riff, and soon breaks into a nice little serenade. Meine begins to show off his melodic skills in an escalating ballad, accompanied by a beautiful acoustic guitar with a most serene feeling. It then gradually subsides and fades away into another break in the song, which renews itself in a bleak and cold bass and guitar line. When Meine starts again, that peaceful feeling he left us off has completely disappeared, and he starts singing as though on the brink of insanity. In fact, you can really grasp this sensation when he screams "And I try!" over and over. And that's what makes this song so special. It was carefully engineered to give listeners complete contrast, displaying hope and despair. The unfortunate thing about it all is that it leaves us wanting more, as it is technically two short songs in one track.
The next track "Inheritance" is a groovier and a bit more trivial than the last, but it is not without a special mention. The instrumentals in the song are great. The Schenkers, Heimberg and Dziony again show us again how they can make a very catchy and complex musical segment. Meine once again is put aside for most of the song, though he does have some good moments. Though, that's if you care to scratch the surface. At first glance, the song reeks of late 1960s psychedelia, as if they were trying to sound like some obscure offspring of Jefferson Airplane.
The next track is an absolute abnormality in whatever people will think of when they hear "The Scorpions". "Action" is, pure and simple, a fusion of blues rock and jazz. Meine has some catchy vocal segments, and the bass is well performed, but is not something people will be looking for when they listen to the album. Thankfully for some, it progresses into a more hard rock sound towards the end, but still gives off the impression that they were inspired by Miles Davis. And like the previous track is something more suited for hippies and such.
The final and title track of Lonesome Crow is a thirteen-minute epic. It is, indeed, the strangest and darkest track of the album. It starts off with an eerie and ominous medley of sound, and proceeds to incorporate the sounds used in other tracks. Meine's vocals, when they do appear, are reminiscent of "Inheritance", and the long musical segments often sound (but are not identical to) "Action" and "It All Depends", though it accentuates on the "jazziness" at some points. Albeit, it's an original piece, though it has a messy composition, and is almost undecided in what tone it wants to take. Some points are clearly dark and spooky, with that groovy bizarre lingering feel in it, other parts just break the song and commence an entirely new segment, with little to no transition. A rather underfocused piece, it might get boring every now and then, especially when it gets real slow where the simple lack of sound or any rythm will surely make listeners sleepy.
To summarize, the album is definitely a unique piece in the typical hard rock entusiast's catalogue, and will surely interest many Scorpions fans, but is more worth the listen for its historical importance as the debut of the Scorpions and of Michael Schenker's very fruitful careers than for anyone looking to jam to some classic hard rock. The album is dark and sounds very groovy, and might have been more popular within the 60's, but at least omits the flower power lyrics. It has a few worthwhile tracks, but is definitely one of the weaker releases of the Scorpions' early career.
I'm Goin' Mad
In Search of the Peace of Mind
I could've done a better job at reviewing it, noticing a few writing mistakes everywhere.
Also, I was mitigated between a high 2.5 or a low 3.0. I chose the latter after re-listening to "Inheritance" which has some pretty nice guitar work, and after paying more attention to the Dziony's drumming, who's not a bad drummer.
Is good that people review Scorps work!. Maybe is the weaker of the 70' albums but is really important in the evolve in their sound. Try the next time void a track by track review, at times it's turn boring to read.
'it all depends' and 'leave me' rather disappointing? you must be kidding; this album is a masterpiece from the first til the very last second; undoubtedly the best thing ever made by this band; it's sad and very dissapointing for me their debut is so underrated; i know you people used to think about scorps like about the great hard rock band delivering superb yet quite simple riffs, with a strong sense of melody; that's what gave them a huge commercial success and what- unfortunately- overshadows their early brilliant releases; the truth is nothing compares to lonesome crow in respect of artistic standard; those who gave it less than 4 should give it another try; next albums, until 'taken by force' are good too, but it's their debut where they reached artistic heights; as for their 80's releases, i dont wanna comment on it... it's like a totally different band i dont appreciate that much
The fact that your review deconstructs the songs only suggests that you actually happened to listened to the album a few times (so at least kudos to you on that). However, the references made to other genres throughout is superficial and doesn't consider how this album truly progresses by mixing many of these styles altogether in one.
To call this 'boring at times' suggests that your only frame of reference is classic 70s metal (judging by what else you've ranked), which in itself, limits your ability to objectively rank this album.
appreciate your open mindedness dude and willingness to debate
If by Track 2 you mean 'It all Depends', I have no idea what you're talking about. The multitude of styles compacted within a few minutes, the randomly placed solo, highly proficient bass, and fun percussion is fucking awesome. This is 1971; almost no one else was doing it like this at that point in time.
sure - Leave Me is fairly straightforward, but as a result provides a nice contrast to the rest of the album. It doesn't remotely diminish the experience.
and those 'really long segments with nothing but background noise'...these are just psychedelic elements that add another layer...perhaps you are also not a fan of some of the pink floyd epics such as saucerful of secrets, echoes and dogs