Scorpions – ‘Lonesome Crow’ (1972) – Album Review (The Scorpions Collection Series)

Welcome to the start of the Scorpions Collection Series. We will be going through my entire Scorpions collection and only what is in my collection. I wont’ be covering anything that I don’t own on this series as I have all the studio albums. I even have some bonus stuff like promos, singles and whatever else I have found. We will start at the beginning and work all the way up to ‘Rock Believer’ which was released only a few months back. I hope you enjoy!

In 1965, Scorpions was born. Rudolf Schenker is the founding member and at the time he even handled the lead vocals. Scorpions have changed their style over the years, but back in 1965, they were more in to Beat Music. Thankfully for us that all changed by the time their first album came out in 1972. Other members at the time were Wolfgang Dziony on drums, Achim Kirchhoff on bass and Karl-Heinz Vollmer on lead guitar. Rudolf handled the rhythm guitar. Out of this original group, the only 2 to make it to the debut album were Rudolf and Wolfgang.

In 1968, they hired a new bass player after Achim had left and he was replaced with Lothar Heimberg. It wasn’t until 1969 when lead singer Klaus Meine showed up along with Rudolf’s little brother Michael Schenker on lead guitar. At the time of his joining the band Michael was only 14 years old. And when the debut album came out he was the ripe old age of 16 years old. Insane!! So now the line-up was complete.

Things started looking better when they entered and won a contest in which allowed them to record two songs with the CCA label to be used as a single, however, they were never released. The band did re-record those songs when they went in to record their debut ‘Lonesome Crow’ back in October 1971. The album was recorded in about 6 to 7 days. The album would be released in February 9, 1972 in West Germany and strangely as the soundtrack to an anti-drug movie called ‘Das Kalte Paradies’. The U.S. released would come in May 1973 over a year later.

Sometime in 1973, Michael Schenker left the band to accept on offer with UFO. Uli Jon Roth came in and finished the tour, but decided no on joining the band and as a result, the band was finished…done…kaput. But were they? No, they weren’t as we know, but in 1973 you didn’t know that.

As I was saying earlier, the band’s sound has changed a lot. It started out as Beat music in 1965 and by 1972, the band was more Psychedelic Rock still a long way from the hard rock & glam scene that made them superstars. It is cool to see how a band’s sound changes over time and this kind of start for me was surprising, but very welcomed.

My copy of this release is a re-issue. It was released in 1982 and is a U.K. release. It is on a golden brown translucent vinyl as you can see above. The album jacket feels weird. It has an almost rubbery feel to it and not the normal paper feel of the early album covers. I like it though as I think it is a rather pretty vinyl. Now, on with the show…

SIDE 1:

The album kicks of with “I’m Goin’ Mad” which is really an instrumental piece with little vocals. It is a showcase of 16 year old Michael Schenker’s playing that is mixed with some psychedelic elements and almost Sabbathy moments as well. Klaus Meine comes in sings a verse with a lot of effects on it and he gives a great scream at the end of the first one. The verse is repeated later in the song and that is all you get of Klaus. The drums have a tribal beat and the bass & rhythm guitar lay down a nice groove, but it is really all Michael here.

“It All Depends” is more of the same…a little Klaus, a whole lot of jam band. If you enjoy more instrumental than singing, this is another song you’ll enjoy as the playing on here is immense with some great drum fills and cool guitar licks. But weak lyrics and vocals.

With some atmospheric sounds and wind blowing, we get “Leave Me” which is a ballad. Klaus vocals soar with a tenderness and sadness while the music starts off very psychedelic and you feel you are on an acid trip as things float around you. Michael does play some great melodies and Dziony’s drumming feels like a different song than what Michael is playing. It is more jazz-filled while Michael is more rock but it ain’t bad. Another track with Klaus really more background than frontman.

The final song on the first side could be the most interesting. “In Search of the Peace of Mind”. A strange opening interlude that doesn’t feel like it is part of the rest of the song before the song truly opens with Klaus softly singing accompanied by a great bass line. Some great guitar riffs thrown in for good measure The song fades away and you think it is over, but oh no, it is just beginning. The tempo builds as does Klaus’s vocals and what starts out as ballad turns in to a bout with insanity. Klaus screams as in mental anguish and the music starts to match and then it ends in a slow fade.

SIDE 2:

Side 2 kicks off with “Inheritance” brings us more of the same from the first half. More psychedlia with Klaus’ vocals sounding like he is tripping on some shrooms. The guitar playing is the highlight with some killer moments but only sound so because of the rhythm section behind them. Then a quick drum fill and the guitars are off to the races again. I had never listened to this album before I never expected so much jamming and so little Meine which saddens me a little, but I do enjoy the playing.

“Action” is up next and it sounds a little jazzy with some hints of blues. We finally get a hefty dose of Klaus at the beginning of the song and I do love his vocals, but back to jamming in the middle before he comes back to finish it off. There is some really cool bass work on here by Heimberg and again the guitars are the stars as expected. By the end of the song is a pure rocker, but a surprising start.

The final track is the title track, “Lonesome Crow”. It is a 13+ minute epic ride that is all over the place. It has elements of all the songs but feels lost at times, very experimental and not well-focused. However, there are some fascinating parts and killer guitar riffing by Michael and here is another reminder that he is only 16 years old!! Holy F&#&!! No wonder UFO offered him a job! The middle section of the song is feedback, weird synth noises and some jazz bass (I picture a standup bass, but it isn’t) before going back to the weird noises. A drum beat comes in and Klaus is making some singing noises (lots of aahhs) before we get more freestyle jazz playing almost. There is really only one good part to it and the rest is a mess.

Track Listing:

  1. I’m Goin’ Mad – Keeper
  2. It All Depends – Keeper (1/2 Point)
  3. Leave Me – Keeper (1/2 Point)
  4. In Search of the Peace of Mind – Keeper
  5. Inheritance – Keeper (1/2 Point)
  6. Action – Keeper (1/2 Point)
  7. Lonesome Crow- Delete

The Track Score is 4 out of 7 Tracks or 57%.  I don’t know if I’ve ever had so many songs I liked, but still not thrilled about overall.  ‘Lonesome Crow’ is psychedelic ride that will leave you tripping, but also scratching your head as it is unfocused, experimental and not what you’d expect when you hear the band name Scorpions.  Klaus Meine might be the lead singer, but he is barely on the album. It is really more an instrumental, jam style record with a little Klaus thrown in so you don’t forget he is there.  There is no denying the musicianship on this thing as it is tremendous and I do enjoy it, but it isn’t an album I will pull out too much and will be a mood album meaning I’ll need to be in the mood for it.  My Overall Score is 2.5 out of 5.0 Stars as it isn’t half bad, but it isn’t half good either.

NEXT UP: FLY TO THE RAINBOW (1974)

THE SCORPIONS COLLECTION SERIES:

  1. Lonesome Crow (1972)
  2. Fly to the Rainbow (1974)
  3. In Trance (1975)
  4. Virgin Killer (1976)
  5. Taken by Force (1977)
  6. Tokyo Tapes (1978)
  7. Lovedrive (1979)
  8. Best of Scorpions (1979)
  9. Animal Magnetism (1980)
  10. Rock Galaxy (1980)
  11. Blackout (1982)
  12. Hot & Heavy (1982)
  13. Love at First Sting (1984)
  14. Still Loving You Maxi Single (1984)
  15. Best of Scorpions Vol. 2 (1984)
  16. Gold Ballads (1984)
  17. World Wide Live (1985)
  18. Savage Amusement (1988)
  19. Rhythm of Love – Single (Box Set) (1988)
  20. Best of Rockers ‘n’ Ballads (1989)
  21. Crazy World (1990)
  22. Crazy World – 4 Track From Crazy World Promo Vinyl (1990)
  23. Tease Me Please Me Promo CD (1990)
  24. Don’t Believe Her Promo CD (1990)
  25. Send Me An Angle Promo CD (1991)
  26. Face the Heat (1993)
  27. Live Bites (1995)
  28. Pure Instinct (1996)
  29. Big City Nights (Compilation) (1998)
  30. Eye II Eye (1999)
  31. Moment of Glory (with Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra) (2000)
  32. Acoustica (2001)
  33. Unbreakable (2004)
  34. Humanity: Hour 1 (2007)
  35. Sting in the Tail (2010)
  36. Comeblack (2011)
  37. MTV Unplugged – Live in Athens (2013)
  38. Return to Forever (2015)
  39. Rock Believer (2022)
  40. The Albums Ranked Worst to First

33 thoughts on “Scorpions – ‘Lonesome Crow’ (1972) – Album Review (The Scorpions Collection Series)

  1. This is awesome. I really know nothing about the Scorps up until the Lovedrive record. So this early stuff will be a good rock history lesson. Not to sure if this kind of psychedelic rock is my deal but I suppose they had to start somewhere.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Listening to this one now. I got on board with Love at First Sting. Before that we were listening to Lovedrive/Blackout at summer camp from cassette. Holiday and No one like you were my favorite tunes.

    Never did get into the earlier Scorps. And Wind of Change I just couldn’t handle at all so I’m only really familiar with Lovedrive through First Sting. Looking forward to giving the rest a second chance with this series.

    Liked by 1 person

        1. That must be Fly to the Rainbow! Just kidding, it could be any of the gems from the In Trance – Love at First Sting period (No, Virgin Killer does not count). At least those were cheesy on purpose, unlike some of the crappy ones from the later years.

          Liked by 2 people

    1. It was Savage Amusement for me too, it came out right at the time when I got into hard rock/metal, and was one of my gateway records. I couldn’t believe when I found out that most fans hated it, and while I see their point now, I still have a soft spot for it.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Glad you like it too! It gets unfairly compared to “Hysteria”, and while it may be a little overproduced, the songs themselves are the Scorps at their best. It’s weird that the so-so “Crazy World” was hailed as a return to form to years later, while “Amusement” gets such a bad rep.

          Like

  3. As a Michael Schenker fan I did pick up his Scorpions output. “Lonesome Crow” is Free on jam steroids.

    And the reason why I say that is because I saw a live concert of Free and they jam a lot and Paul Kossof is wailing away on the guitar and the licks are very similar to what Schenker plays here.

    And your score is too kind. Lol.

    Liked by 1 person

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