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2.73 | 33 ratings | 4 reviews
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Album · 1972

Filed under Proto-Metal


1. I'm Goin' Mad (4:56)
2. It All Depends (3:29)
3. Leave Me (5:06)
4. In Search Of The Peace Of Mind (5:00)
5. Inheritance (4:41)
6. Action (3:56)
7. Lonesome Crow (13:31)

Total Time 40:42


- Klaus Meine / lead vocals
- Michael Schenker / lead guitar, backing vocals
- Rudolf Schenker / rhythm guitar, backing vocals
- Lothar Heimberg / bass guitar, backing vocals
- Wolfgang Dziony / drums, percussion, backing vocals

About this release

February 1972
Brain Records

Thanks to Pekka, Lynx33, 666sharon666 for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

‘Lonesome Crow’ is the 1972 debut of one of metal and hard rock’s longest running and most endearing bands, the Scorpions (or, more specifically, just Scorpions, without the “the”). Like countless others, I was introduced to this band by winds of change, being rocked like a hurricane and suffering severe blackouts, so it’s a huge surprise, and kind of an odd disappointment, to discover that the German hard rockers were something completely different when they first debuted.

Commonly referred to as “krautrock”, ‘Lonesome Crow’ is more psychedelic and progressive than what the band would go on to become known for. With a heavy emphasis on non-linear guitar solos and vocal lines that don’t really follow very clear melodies, it’s a bit of a mess of an album, especially if, like me, you were expecting the bands latter riff-fuelled sound to be present here.

Most of this falls down to guitarist Michael Schenker, who’s distinctive playing style is all over this album, but would leave the band before they could record a follow-up, which is where the group really start to develop their more recognizable sound. There is some impressive musicianship, which feels more akin to the progressive rock bands of the day, but for all the competent playing, they’re not very competent at writing catchy songs. Not yet, anyway.

I mean, if I had to really look for positives, then full credit would go to the bands technical abilities on their instruments. But I don’t really listen to albums marvelling at the musicianship if the songs themselves are pretty boring and forgettable. It’s a shame, but in fairness, these guys would certainly go on to evolve and eventually conquer the world, so dismissing ‘Lonesome Crow’ shouldn’t be such an issue, surely?
“Rock You Like a Hurricane” and the “Love at First Sting” album were all the rage among many guys in my junior high school the year I started attending – 1984. A lot of kids had “Blackout” too. Ever the weirdo, I went out and bought “Virgin Killer” and then “Lonesome Crow.” Though “Virgin Killer” still captured that hard rocking essence of the Scorpions, “Lonesome Crow” was something else altogether. It was just plain weird. There were no power chords forming bombastic riffs. There was no “Rock You Like a Hurricane”, no “Polar Nights”, not even anything near Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man”from the same period. There was plenty of distorted guitar but mostly used just for soloing. This could hardly be the same band.

Indeed it wasn’t. This was the first line-up to be on a Scorpions record, a line-up that would break up after the tour as their lead guitarist, Michael Schenker, would accept an invitation to join UFO. The Scorpions were finished after one album. Brother Rudolf Schenker would go speak to friend Uli Jon Roth about joining his band, Dawn Road, and Uli accepted under the condition that Scorpions vocalist Klaus Meine would join too. Then it was decided that since the Scorpions had released an album and were more known, Dawn Road would change its name to Scorpions. Ta-da! The new Scorpions was born.

But let’s get back to the Michael Schenker version of the band. As I said, I had this in junior high school way back in 1984/5 and it was honestly a stretch for me to find anything about this album I liked. “Fly to the Rainbow” at least had “Speedy’s Coming” and “Drifting Sun”, but this? I concluded that I kind of liked “I’m Going Mad” and “In Search of Peace of Mind”. The latter had some pretty acoustic guitar and a haunting conclusion with some distortion on the guitar. There were some parts of the lengthy “Lonesome Crow” solo I liked. The rest of the album I forgot about.

Then in 2012 I became insanely interested in prog rock and as I discovered that more and more albums in my CD collection fit the description of prog, I thought about “Lonesome Crow”. Wasn’t that prog? I bought the CD (the cassette long ago having been dumped off at the Salvation Army store) and let it play for my enlightened ears. Surely, this was German prog-rock. The percussion and drumming is very creative throughout, often taking a very jazzy approach. The album begins with the percussion intro to “I’m Going Mad” and right away you can hear this is no ordinary “metal” album. Tracks like “It All Depends” and “Action Time” have some wonderful percussive work and definitely from a jazz background.

The bass also figures prominently on most tracks. Notice the jaunty jazzy feel to parts of the title track, as well as throughout the album. These early songs seem to blend and cross over between serious rock and jazz.

Of course the main feature and raison d’etre of the album is Michael Schenker’s guitar playing. Most of the tracks seem like they are just a vehicle supporting these monster-attack solos that he pumps out. There will be nothing harsh or angular to a song until a wild distorted guitar solo erupts forth. Certainly he established himself as a guitar god early on with this album. The title track especially gives him a chance to show his rock, blues, and jazz abilities, as well as crazy cosmic guitar effects. There’s also a very cool part where Mr. Schenker plays his guitar so that it sounds like a cello (one of those parts I loved even at 13 years of age).

Fans of the Matthias Jabs era scorpions will most likely find this a hard one to swallow and even those who enjoy the Uli Jon Roth era might raise an eyebrow or two after the first couple of tracks. But again, this is more like progressive rock of the early seventies than any kind of traditional metal. For its uniqueness and to the curious I recommend at least checking it out. Since re-acquiring it last year (2012) it has remained in my iPhone and occasionally specific tracks are selected and played.

Members reviews

Another debut that is way below the standard of later albums of the artist. The problems here are multi-layered.

The sound itself is quite different to everything else we know of Scorpions, which is due to the fact that Rudolf Schenker's brother Michael is involved. That's not bad per se, but the real good phase started when Matthias Jabs took over the guitar a few years later. I don't want to say Michael is a bad guitarist, if he were he wouldn't have played with UFO, but I'm not too excited about his style. A real problem, however, is Klaus Meine's singing, it seems he hadn't developped his distinct voice by then. Also, his English pronounciation didn't seem too fine then as there are passages all across the album where it is nearly impossible to understand a single word. Finally, the songwriting is very weak. There's one pretty good song, In Search Of The Peace Of Mind, in which we first see the ballad structure later perfected in Holiday, but the rest is far below average, especially for this band. The absolute lowlight is the title track, thirteen and a half minutes of a failed attempt to cross over Krautrock with Pink Floyd's Echoes. A wise musician once said that it doesn't matter if a good song is two or twenty minutes long, but a bad song shouldn't be longer than one and a half. This is my prime example to prove the second half of this sentence.

I'm happy that Lonesome Crow wasn't even close to be the first Scorpions albums I heard. Had it been I probably wouldn't have listened to anything else by them and missed out on some of my favourite songs recorded on later albums.
This album often get a bad rep, especially fans of their later albums. Let me tell you right away, this is nothing like "Rock You Like a Hurricane". In fact, this is much more in proto-metal territory than full-on metal. That means what you get are elements of psychedelia, prog, and Krautrock in a hard rock context. In fact this album was released on Brain, which is more known for Krautrock, prog, and electronic (like Klaus Schulze, Edgar Froese, Grobschnitt, Novalis, Guru Guru, Jane, Birth Control, etc.). This album features also a teenaged Michael Schenker on guitar, in his pre-UFO days. "I'm Going Mad", has a psychedelic vibe going on, with spoken dialog in accented English. "Leave Me" has a bit of a space rock thing going on, while "Action" has a strangely jazzy feel to it. While this sounds nothing like later Scorpions, both Klaus Meine and Rudolf Schenker are on this album (in fact they're the core of the Scorpions so they are the only constant members of the group). Metal purists would probably be advised to stay away from this album, but if you like that underground proto-metal you might find this enjoyable. I know I do.

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