Herman Rarebell & Friends – “Herman’s Scorpions Songs” (Solid Rockhouse)
Affectionately known as Herman ‘Ze German’ Rarebell in many circles, Rarebell was the Scorpions drummer from 1977 to 1995, playing on 8 studio albums and most crucially was part of the Rudolph Schenker / Klaus Meine writing team that delivered the hits on classic albums like “Lovedrive”, “Animal Magnetism” and “Blackout”. Thereafter his contributions lessened until his departure from the band, although ‘Ze German”s humorous take on life has never left him and one must wonder if this album is yet another one of them, reminding all of the songs that made the band famous – and most of which he contributed to – but moreover, that the hits seemed to stop coming afterwards? Whatever the case, Rarebell as assembled a stellar vocal line-up from Toto’s Bobby Kimball on ‘Rock You Like A Hurricane’ to Gary Barden (Michael Schenker Group) on ‘Falling In Love’ and Tony Martin (Black Sabbath) on ‘Another Piece Of Meat’ to do these classics justice. And just to show you he’s not lost any humor he’s even aptly got Great White’s Jack Russell on ‘Don’t Make No Promises’ – complete with his groupies on the harmonies ha ha! Lesser well known but no less worthy contributions come from Michael Voss (Mad Max) on ‘Loving You Sunday Morning’ and Johnny Gioeli (Axel Rudi Pell) on ‘Dynamite’ although the vocal performances on all 12 tracks deliver soundly. The million dollar question is though – do any of these guys measure up to Klaus – and the answer without question is – no! It’s not that these guys are inferior vocalists by comparison but that they are simply different and moreover, how Klaus’s vocals form such a big part of the Scorpions signature sound. That said, they certainly do offer an interesting and fresh take on some of these songs that are over 4 decades old and interestingly, its the newest Scorpions material that sounds closest to these covers perhaps adding weight to Rarebell’s opinion on the song writing? Undoubtedly ambivalent for some, I found it enjoyable enough if anything to confirm what a winning team Schenker, Meine and Rarebell were – truly unbreakable.