Don DOKKEN – Breakin’ The Chains ’81+ Live ’83 [Loudworks Expanded Edition] (2023) *HQ*

Don DOKKEN - Breakin' The Chains + Live '83 [Loudworks Expanded Edition] (2023) *HQ* - full

We already featured some time ago our own 0dayrox LP-rip of Don DOKKEN very first recording of ‘Breakin’ The Chains’ originally released 1981 in Europe-only on the French label Carrere Records.
Now as requested, here’s the 2023 CD released by San Marino based bootleg label Loudworks; “Breakin’ The Chains + Live ’83 [Loudworks Expanded Edition]“. This is of course a vinyl-rip of the albums, but the interesting thing on this ‘Expanded’ is the addition of Dokken’s Live performance at The Oasis, Sacramento, CA, December 28, 1983.
Before the American debut LP ‘Breaking The Chains’ in 1983, DOKKEN originally recorded the album in 1981 in Europe, titled “Breakin’ the Chains” (no ‘g’) under the band name ”Don Dokken”.
This version contains different mixes and titles and clearly, in some cases, different recordings of songs from the later U.S. edition. “Paris Is Burning” is called “Paris”, and is actually a studio version as opposed to the live recording in Berlin from December 1982. The album also contains a song called “We’re Illegal”, which later turned
into “Live To Rock (Rock To Live)”.

Dokken made it big in the US scene with their second album, but the band already released a 1983 debut with Elektra Records titled ‘Breaking The Chains’ before, with moderate success / sales.
Don Dokken and the guys spent many years in the underground before the breakthrough, and among their activities, there was an early version of “Breakin’ the Chains” recorded and released in Europe.

Don started his career in the Seventies as part of many bands, even securing some gigs in Europe in the late ’70s when heavy metal was about to explode there.
A Dokken (still not operating under this name) line-up consisting of Don, guitarist Greg Leon, drummer Gary Holland (both from the band Suite 19 which also once featured Mötley Crüe’s Tommy Lee), and bassist Gary Link toured Germany in 1979 where they met an up-and-coming producer by the name of Michael Wagener, also the live sound engineer for Accept.
Wagener produced some demos for the band in Hamburg, but nothing happened – this recording finally appeared in 1989 under the title ‘Back in the Streets’, released by the German label Repertoire Records without the band’s consent.

In early 1981, Don Dokken returned to Germany trying to get a record deal with a new band in tow, guitarist George Lynch and drummer Mick Brown, who had been playing in a band called Xciter at the time, with future Ratt member Juan Croucier on bass.
After recording new demos with Wagener and with the help of Accept’s manager, Gaby Hauke, a deal was secured with French based label Carrere Records.

Recorded between July and September 1981 at Studio Stommeln with Wagener & Dieter Dierks (Scorpions) producing and Peter Baltes (Accept) on bass, “Breakin’ The Chains” was initially released under the name “Don Dokken” before it was changed to simply Dokken on subsequent pressings, and different artwork.
The latter was used for the US release two years later, however the logo blue background color was replaced with red.

A series of European shows followed in late ’81 and early ’82, bringing the band members closer. The Carrere edition of the album was released in Europe in mid-82, where it placed well on the charts of the British heavy metal magazine Kerrang! The album also reached the US as an import.

Promotional activities for the European release of “Breakin’ The Chains’ included a German TV appearance as ‘Dokken’, and some gigs in central Europe. While in Germany, Don would also demo songs with the Scorpions for their Blackout album as the band’s vocalist Klaus Meine was forced to undergo surgery on his vocal cords and his return was uncertain for a time. Dokken did eventually perform backing vocals on the album.
Meanwhile, Lynch, Brown and Croucier ended up working as studio musicians for German singer Udo Lindenberg on his 1982 album Keule, playing on four songs.

Though Europe had been good to them, Dokken decided to come home. Before signing with Elektra/Asylum, Don and George each found projects in the States. Don served as producer on several recording sessions, working with Great White and Black N’ Blue, and George considered and then rejected an offer from Ozzy Osbourne to fill Randy Rhoads’ spot after his death.
Dokken the band were now managed by Cliff Bernstein who got the band signed to Elektra Records for a stateside release of ‘Breaking The Chains’, re-mixed and partially re-recorded for the American market.

Don DOKKEN - Breakin' The Chains + Live '83 [Loudworks Expanded Edition] (2023) digipak back

By the Summer of ’83, Dokken was working at Total Access Studios in Redondo Beach, CA to improve Breaking The Chains for U.S. release. With Michael Wagener co-producing, they recorded new instrumental tracks, improved upon vocal harmonies and generally tightened the album’s sound.
The lyrics of one song, formerly titled “We’re Illegal” were changed and the tune was retitled “Live to Rock.” “Stick to Your Guns” was completely re-recorded, and the studio version of “Paris Is Burning” was replaced by the more fiery live rendition. The LP was also remastered digitally for maximum sound quality.

This primal, early 80s European version of Dokken’s “Breakin’ the Chains” is less polished and rawer that the 1983 American version. For many, Dokken never sounded better than on this 81 recording, from the guts, with the instruments coming out separated, especially the guitars.
This bootleg is also nice to get the 1983 live recording with a fine sound quality, hearing Dokken as a powerful band and ready to make it big.
Highly Recommended


Original 1981 Version:
01 – Breakin’ The Chains
02 – Seven Thunders
03 – I Can’t See You
04 – In The Middle
05 – We’re Illegal
06 – Paris
07 – Stick To You Guns
08 – Young Girls
09 – Felony
10 – Nightrider
Live At The Oasis, Sacramento, CA, December 28, 1983:
11 – Paris Is Burning (Live)
12 – Goin’ Down (Live)
13 – Young Girls (Live)
14 – In The Middle (Live)
15 – Hit And Run (Live)
16 – Nightrider (Live)
17 – Live To Rock, Rock To Live (Live)
18 – Breaking The Chains (Live)

Don Dokken – Lead Vocals, Guitar
George Lynch – Lead Guitar
Peter Baltes – Bass
Mick Brown, Bobby Blotzer – Drums



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