For a fan of the Scorpions, 'Lonesome Crow' provides a fascinating insight into the band's early work. Marking the genesis of their recording career, the Scorpions would progress rapidly from the free-flowing psychedelic rock on offer here onto the more intense and immediate hard rock / heavy metal that they became known for in the Eighties. However, for someone merely interested in what the band sounded like in their more experimental Seventies period, 'Lonesome Crow' is not a good place to start.
That's not to suggest that 'Lonesome Crow' is in any way a bad album; there are plenty of great moments to recommend what is actually a surprisingly coherent and mature recording for a band still in its infancy. The twin-guitar attack so crucial to the latter-day Scorpions sound is already in place and Klaus Meine's throat shredding vocal style is clearly evident. The songs are well-crafted and the English lyrics, despite being sometimes rather clumsy, are still impressive for such a youthful German band (and show that they were keen to attract an international audience). The overall ebb and flow of the record and the moods it creates are rather enchanting and it rewards the patient and attentive listener.
The chilled-out groove of 'I'm Going Mad' is pierced with Meine's impassion vocals, 'It All Depends' and 'Inheritance' showcase some versatile guitar work from the teenage Michael Schenker and though live-standard 'In Search of the Peace of Mind' is mostly as clunky as its title, the finale is deliciously sinister. The last third of the album is taken up with the title track; clocking in at over thirteen minutes, it's easily the longest song recorded by the band and it's also the most forgettable on the album, starting out promisingly enough with more impressive fretwork from Michael, yet subsequently meandering off and never regaining focus.
Any genuine fan of the Scorpions should not only own a copy of 'Lonesome Crow', but also appreciate its finer moments, as there are plenty for the aficionado to enjoy. Any else, esp. those looking for the sound of the band in their heyday, should approach this with an open mind.