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Everyone knows the Scorpions. But they are mostly known, loved or hated for either the stadium rock they played in the eighties, or their extremely popular ballad Wind of Change. Many people do not know that there was a time before their big hits. But it all started in 1972 with Lonesome Crow.
In 1972 the Scorpions were Klaus Meine (vocals), Rudolf Schenker (guitar), his younger brother Michael (guitar), Lothar Heimberg (bass) and Wolgang Dziony (drums). The style presented on Lonesome Crow is some typical late sixties / early seventies rock (not hard rock!) with strong influences of jazz and psychedelic rock like The Doors. This style is also completely different from the stuff they played on the following albums. Lonesome Crow is something like the forgotten album by the Scorpions, compared to Rocka Rolla (but better).
There are mainly two types of songs on the album. On the one hand we have moody, atmospheric music with a strong psychedelic influence, which reminds me a bit of The Doors in their earlier days (minus excessive organ playing). On the other hand there is more jazz and blues rock inspired music.
The jazzier sound is featured basically in two songs, It All Depends and Action. Especially Action has a very groovy bass line, which shows what a good bass player Heimberg is. But I have to admit that these songs are my least favorite ones on the record.
In my opinion the album really shines when it comes to the atmospheric parts. I’m Goin’ Mad sounds very creepy with its percussion in the beginning and Klaus’ vocals, which become more and more intense. Another one of my faves is Leave Me, which sounds close to the aforementioned Doors influence. The backing vocals are very nicely done. Inheritance has a similar atmosphere but I would consider it a bit weaker. In Search of the Peace of Mind is special, because it’s the only song that was also included on Tokyo Tapes (at least half of it). It is mostly played on acoustic guitar that creates a very peaceful atmosphere but in the end the intensity increases with Meine yelling “In search…” several times (this part was left out on Tokyo Tapes). In Search… sound a bit like the following album.
The title track deserves a special mention because it combines the two major influences into a mystical journey of thirteen minutes. It starts of slow (like Inheritance) but goes through various stages with great bass and guitar solos. In the end it goes back to the beginning with Klaus stepping back in. I recommend listening to this in darkness.
My conclusion is: If you are a fan of early seventies rock, you must get this album, although you might not like the Scorpions in general. It’s one of the best albums they ever released.
Recommended songs: I’m Goin’ Mad, Leave Me, Lonesome Crow