Dokken-The Lost Songs: 1978-1981

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Reviewed: September, 2020
Released: 2020, Silver Lining
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: JP

Dokken is basically done.  Aside from the occasional classic line-up, big money gig in Japan and the occasional county-fair gig with the more recent line-up, the band has run it’s course. Don Doken announced a while back that due to complications from various injuries he has lost the use of his hand, so he can’t play guitar. His voice is shot and he can’t really sing much anymore.  Let’s face it, Don Dokken is 67 years old and he has been living on the road for decades. He has all but explicitly stated that, ‘Dokken is officially over’.

The writing is on the wall and that means that labels are starting to look for material to release and this new album is just that, digging through the vaults.  THE LOST SONGS: 1979-1981 is about as much of a self-explanatory title as you can get.  We get eleven old, rare or unreleased songs for our listening pleasure!  Dokken didn’t really perfect their signature, melodic Metal sound until TOOTH AND NAIL so these primal songs have more in common with the debut album, BREAKING THE CHAINS. There is a bit of familiar material with here with all four songs from the 1980 pro-demo BACK IN THE STREETS appearing on LOST SONGS.  Back in 2007 the band released a white-hot live album from the vaults called, FROM CONCEPTION: LIVE 1981 and two cuts ‘Hit And Run’ and ‘Liar’ were in that live set list so now we get to hear different versions. The other five songs are all new to me and they are all rock solid.

The production value is quite decent for songs that are 40+ years old with the exception of ‘Broken Heart’, the last ‘studio’ track.  It’s pretty raw.  The album finishes with a couple of live tracks, ‘Liar’ and ‘Prisoner’.  ‘Prisoner’ is not a old version of the song of the same name that appeared on the BACK FOR THE ATTACK album in 1989. The tempo is a bit slower on many of the songs and they have a 70’s feel no doubt. This might lend some credence to the theory that Lynch brought the faster, metallic fire to the band.  Don sings in a lower register at times and it suits him. Standout tracks are ‘Rainbows’ which is almost like a dark ballad and the speedy lead off cut, ‘Step Into The Light’ which gets the blood pumping.

This collection really is immense treat for fans of Dokken.  I rated it pretty high and if you are not a die-hard fan you can adjust your grade accordingly, but who else is going to buy this EXCEPT dedicated Dokken fans?  James Curl recently wrote the first biography of Dokken called INTO THE FIRE you can check out my review on this site and because Curl spends a good amount of time covering very early years of Dokken, this is the perfect companion piece.  THE LOST SONGS is a real treat for any Dokken fan!

Track Listing:

1 – Step Into the Light
2 – We’re Going Wrong
3 – Day After Day
4 – Rainbows
5 – Felony
6 – No Answer
7 – Back In the Streets
8 – Hit and Run
9 – Broken Heart
10 – Liar (Live)
11 – Prisoner (Live)