More often than not, when asked to name a song by veteran rock band Scorpions, the first answer given in response is the song ‘Rock You Like a Hurricane.’ It should be emphasized that this is the common response by those not familiar with the band’s extensive body of work. Those that are more familiar with the band’s catalogue will avow that its members have crafted far more songs worth hearing than that one over the course of the band’s life so far. As a matter of fact, this own critic’s view is that ‘Rock You Like a Hurricane’ is one of the worst of the band’s songs if not its worst overall. Now thanks to former Scorpions guitarist Uli Jon Roth, those audiences that are not so familiar with the band’s body of work will discover just how many great songs have been crafted by the German-based band over the years in the form of his new double-disc recording Scorpions Revisited. Those that are long-time fans will get to hear many of their favorite songs in a whole new light on this record thanks to Roth’s re-workings of no fewer than twenty classic Scorpions songs. Roth grabs audiences right off the top in his re-working of the band’s classic tune ‘The Sails of Charon.’ It’s not a short piece by any means. It comes in at nine minutes and nine seconds. But over the course of that near ten minutes, audiences new and old alike will find themselves being exposed to a work that even those not fond of full-on instrumentals will appreciate. Roth is just as impressive on his take of the bluesy ‘Sun in my Hand.’ It’s yet another song that listeners of all ages will enjoy from this new collection of classics. And even at just under the five-minute mark, Roth makes the song feel like it is much longer. That is meant in the best way possible, too. As if these two songs aren’t enough, Roth closes out his new double-disc album just as epically as he opened it if not more so with the near twelve-minute opus ‘Fly To The Rainbow.’ From its gentle opening minutes, to its gradual crescendo into its soaring bridge, to its bombastic closing measures, this song is one of the highest of points on Scorpions Revisited. And together with both of the aforementioned songs, all three works serve to show exactly why Scorpions Revisited is a record that any Scorpions fan will appreciate just as much as any rock purist.
Uli Jon Roth’s new album Scorpions Revisited is an album that every Scorpions fan and every rock purist should hear at least once this year. That is because the re-workings serve as just as solid an introduction for those new to the veteran rock band as it is a re-introduction for those that have followed the band since its inception so long ago. This is proven right off the top with Roth’s take on ‘The Sails of Charon.’ The song opens in full, bombastic fashion with Roth and has fellow musicians absolutely exploding with energy before launching into the song’s Middle Eastern sound. It could be merely this critic’s own interpretation but at certain points throughout the song, it sounds like Roth is channeling Duke Ellington with a seeming take on Ellington’s ‘Caravan.’ Roth’s vocals are just as solid as his musicianship as he sings, “Dark night/There is no light/In the realm of the black magic man/Soul’s flight/Into the cold blight/Of the destroyer’s magic land/Poor man Whose spirits are stronger/They’re the ones who will reign/Your struggles are in vain.” Lyrically, the song comes across as a story of good triumphing over evil with the song equating the kingdom of evil to absolutely nothing and the good, bright side as the eternal victor. Such a positive story coupled with Roth’s musical update on the classic tune makes this take on the song its ow hit. It also serves as just one example of what makes Scorpions Revisited a welcome new record both for any Scorpions fan and for any rock purist.
Roth’s updated take of ‘The Sails of Charon’ is in itself a great addition to Scorpions Revisited regardless of listeners’ familiarity with the Scorpions’ body of work. Its message of good overcoming evil coupled with its upbeat musical side will keep any rock purist completely engaged throughout its nine minute-plus run time. Roth’s take on the bluesy ‘Sun in My Hand’ is just as certain to keep listeners engaged with its own mix of positive lyrics and infectious, bluesy riffs. Roth sings of the joys of music in this song against the backdrop of that bluesy sound, singing, “And when I touch the rain/Music will make you sane/Burn like you say ’em, oh…Look at the sun inside of my hand so bright/I call it music.” He comes across in the song’s central verses as if he is singing about those that worry about the little things in life, those that would complete with one another. He almost seems to question in his own way how people can let such things stay front and center in their minds when something as simple as music can bring such joy. It’s a really powerful message spoken in so few words. And used, again, alongside the song’s infectious bluesy riffs, it becomes another excellent example of what makes Scorpions Revisited a welcome record for any Scorpions fan and for any rock purist.
Uli Jon Roth’s updated takes on ‘Sun in my Hand’ and ‘The Sails of Charon’ are both impressive in their own right. And both serve in their own right as prime examples of why every Scorpions fan should hear this double-disc record just as much as any rock purist. While both songs are equally impressive in their own right, Roth’s take on the also classic ‘Fly to the Rainbow’ is the highest of points in this double-disc album. Its slow build from its gentle opening moments to its ethereal, almost Pink Floyd-inspired “B” section to the absolutely soaring closing moments of its “C” section paint a rich musical picture; a picture that coupled with the song’s rather intriguing lyrics makes for a fitting closer. Lyrically, the song comes across as a piece about someone who has lived a past life. This is interpreted with Roth singing in the song’s opening verse, “Life is empty/Can’t remember anytime before/On a plain lit cold December/See it evermore/Gliding through this life and another as a child/Ever doing games and losing things/Always playing games.” He sings of a subject that has lived somewhere else and some time else. He sings, “Somewhere in the blue distance/Are those long-forgotten trees of yore/A broken violin floatin’ alone in December/Darkness everywhere and nothing more.” He also sings of a subject that once saw the great, fabled city of Atlantis as it sank beneath the waves and much more. The pairing of such intriguing lyrics and equally deep musical content makes this piece the perfect closer to Scorpions Revisited and one more solid example of why every rock purist and Scorpions fan should hear this album.
All three of the songs noted here show in their own way just how enjoyable Uli Jon Roth’s new collection of Scorpions classics is. This is the case regardless of listeners’ familiarity with the veteran band’s body of work. They are also just a microscopic view of everything that makes this album a welcome listen for both the band’s long-time fans and for rock purists alike. Every one of the album’s nineteen total tracks exhibits its own positives. In hearing those positives, every listener will agree that Scorpions Revisited is an album that every rock purist and every Scorpions fan should have in his or her own personal music library. It is available now in stores and online. More information on this and other releases from Uli Jon Roth is available online now at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Uli-Jon-Roth/403059233077097. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com