March 7, 2022

This one goes way back in time to well before NWOBHM and Angel Witch introduced vocalist Dave Tattum to the world. This compilation of early recordings has been put together by High Roller Records with a limited vinyl release of 300 which features 12 tracks and a CD release which has 17 tracks of Tatum’s pre-Angel Witch career.

Tattum informs that his first band was Skin Deep which came together around 1971/72 and was really a covers band which then morphed into Bill The Murderer in 1977 with the band releasing a 7″ single I Find You/Spring Rain but it didn’t do too much and were songs that were quite different to the prog rock that the band was playing at that time. As we all know, punk was happening and times were hard for rock bands on the pub circuit and the band morphed again into Blaque Jaque Shallaque (a cartoon character being a French Canadian lumberjack) but, to be honest, I do not recall band or cartoon. This was around 1981/1982 and the new band shared a couple of musicians with Angel Witch and the band then recorded these demos at their studio.

The album is completed by live and rehearsal takes with the CD featuring a further 5 tracks but, strangely, these were not made available for review but seem to be one further rehearsal track and four instrumentals so maybe they are not deemed that essential, can’t comment, haven’t heard them! The sound quality is surprisingly good given the archive nature of the recordings and very much show a pre-NWOBHM Dave Tattum with the band most definitely showing hard rock/prog leanings and you can see how the music developed into NWOBHM.

This is a surprisingly good album for its age and is recommended to fans of the band and the fledgling new rock movement just to see how they actually developed.

Blood On My Hands

  1. Blaque Jaque Shallaque (Demo) (2:47)
  2. Revenge Is Sweet (Demo) (3:41)
  3. Blood on My Hands (Demo) (4:11)
  4. You Keep Me Hangin’ On (Demo) (2:43)
  5. Break the Spell (Live radio recording) (3:51)
  6. Are You Ready (Live radio recording) (4:51)
  7. Spring Rain (Demo) (3:28)
  8. Give Me Your Love (Rehearsal) (5:53)
  9. Playing with Fire (Rehearsal) (6:57)
  10. The Killer (Rehearsal) (4:47)
  11. I’d Find You (Bill The Murderer single) (5:56)
  12. Spring Rain (Bill The Murderer single) (4:21)

Blaque Jaque Shallaque:

Dave Tattum – Vocals

Rob Downing – Guitar

Steve Allan – Guitar

Martin Webb – Bass Guitar

Dave Hogg – Drums

Bill The Murderer

Dave Tattum – Vocals

Steve Aldridge – Guitars

Pete Downes – Guitars

Ian Cramer – Bass

Dave Pendrey – Drums

Patrick Cramer – Keyboards