Rumours reach me from increasingly credible sources that Blood and Fire has folded.
This is tragic news if it is true. I’d been a fan of the label since Paul Meme played me their first release – If Deejay Was Your Trade and they have rereleased some incredible music from the Congos, Glen Brown, Yabby You and many many more.
There were two things which singled the label out for me. The first (and most important) was their love of the music and its musicians. This was obvious from the lavish artwork and sleevenotes, and from the time spent restoring old mastertapes and vinyl to give people the best sound possible. It was also obvious from the effort which the label put into trying to ensure that the artists themselves received proper payment for their works, a shockingly rare occurrence in the world of JA music. It may unfortunately be this attention to detail and honourable business practices which lead to the label’s downfall. What does it say about the world that this sort of thing can’t survive?
The second thing was the Blood & Fire message board which I stumbled across by accident whilst trying to pretend to work in 2000. It was an amazing treasure trove of information, populated by incredibly knowledgeable enthusiasts, producers, selectors and journalists. It went through its fair share of ups and downs and nutters as all forums do, but it’s been an essential part of the background to stuff you’ve read here and all the people I’ve met through the forum have been fantastic.
I really hope the rumours aren’t true or that if they are that all those involved continue with similar projects. Certainly Steve Barrow has a few other labels on the go, such as Hot Pot and one other said to be for 80s deejay releases.
There are other places to chat about reggae on the net, but I can’t help feeling that the intensity and holism of the B&F board is a chapter which has now closed. Time will tell, though.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Steve Barrow, Bob Harding, Dom Sotgiu and everyone involved with the label. You did a good thing, respect is due.