Genre: N.W.O.B.H.M.
Country: U.K.
Label: High Roller Records
Year: 2021

Blaque Jaque Shellaque is a totally forgotten band from the catacombs of NWOBHM. And probably with one of the strangest names ever as Blacque Jacque Shellacque is a Looney Tunes character. 

He (the Looney Tune character…)was created by Robert McKimson and first appeared in the 1959 short “Bonanza Bunny”. While similar in many ways to Yosemite Sam, both are short in stature and temper, Blacque Jacque possesses his own unique characteristics, not the least of which is his comically thick French Canadian accent, performed by Mel Blanc. Also, like Yosemite Sam and many other villains, Blacque Jacque Shellacque does not have a high level of intelligence, preferring to use force instead of strategy to fight Bugs Bunny.

But let’s get back to New Wave Of British Heavy Metal band with the same name that the fanatics of the genre may know as their singer Dave Tattum is also the vocalist on Angel Witch’s 1985’s “Screamin’ ‘N’ Bleedin’” and 1986’s “Frontal Assault” albums. 

Truth be told I had never before tried to learn more info about him even though he is a great singer and I really dig the albums he recorded with Angel Witch. His career started somewhere in 1971-72 with his own band named Skin Deep. It was more something like a cover band although they had some ideas completed and if their short time drummer Steve Williams hasn’t joined Budgie they would become more professional. However they moved forward and they transformed into Bill The Murderer around 1977.

No, Tatum had no talent on picking names for his bands and after many fermentations in 1978, Bill The Murderer recorded a 7” single featuring “I’d Find You” and “Spring Rain”.  The songs had a 70’s prog/rock vibe while punk and NWOBHM were shaking the English ground and the youth of the country. So no commercial success and no interest from any label is what mathematically was their future holding for them.  As the band moved to London from North Wales they changed their name to Blaque Jaque Shallaque. 

Formed around 1981/82, the band’s line-up featured Dave Hoggon drums plus Rob Downing on guitar (both were also on Angel Witch). Tatum’s performance and professional attitude gave him a place to Angel Witch and a friendship with Kevin Heybourne.

But you have to give a chance to BJS. Unfortunately the band never played live on a stage or toured and what you get on this carefully crafted collection by High Roller Records is the two singles and some demo recordings and a brief radio recording session. The first four songs of  “Blood On My Hands” are the demos “Blaque Jaque Shallaque”, “Revenge Is Sweet” and “Blood on My Hands”, while  “You Keep Me Hangin‘ On” is a cover version on the classic by The Supremes originally recorded in 1966. A song written and composed by Holland–Dozier–Holland. American rock band Vanilla Fudge released a cover version in June of the following year, which reached number six on the Billboard Hot 100. English singer Kim Wilde covered “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” in 1986, reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in June 1987. The two tracks taken of the radio sessionBreak the Spell” and “Are You Ready”, have the trait that the radio speaker talking over the recording. Something rather strange for an official release despite the intentions that might have been to keep the authenticity of the recording. There’s also another demo entitled “Spring Rain”. The album closes with the two Bill The Murderer songs that sound a bit different from the rest of the material if not out of joint, with many synths that flirt with proto AOR sound. 

“Blood On My Hands” is a nice and decent collection, a deep dig into the unknown territories of the NWOBHM movement. Not a gem definitely, neither a loss of time and money.