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Published 23.04.07

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James McCarraher was born some forty years ago in Hythe, Hampshire, an idyllic village on the edge of the New Forest in Southern England.

Although a trained lawyer by profession, James first dipped a toe into the literary world in 1996 and has never looked back.

ĎAngel Air Is Tení is Jamesí sixth book and third focussing specifically on the subject of music.

He cites Paolo Hewitt, Richie Unterberger and Robert Goddard as his literary inspiration.


For the past ten years Peter Purnell has donned the Marigolds and presided like a master-physician over a sort of National Health Service for aged rockers. He has lovingly revived, renewed, and extended the life of all whom he has adopted. It is not surprising that he regards his label roster as a club for which "only the over 40s" are invited. Perhaps he is, more accurately, the Phyllosan of the Digital Age.

'Angel Air is 10' is a welcome celebration of the label's first ten years and for any rocker of a certain age, and with an eye for trivia, makes essential reading. Where else could we read about Affinity, an early jazz rock stomping ground for the great Mo Foster, Warhorse (debut album on the Vertigo 'swirl' label) and what happened to Bobby Harrison of seventies funk rockers Snafu? Author James McCarraher has brought together the 200-plus label catalogue, prefacing each release with an essay culled mainly from the original liner notes.

Anyone who has ever savoured an Angel Air offering will know that the sleeve notes are as complete as John McCoy's baldness. And the story starts with the label's first release in February 1997 (McCoy's 'Think Hard Again') and runs through until the more recent McCoy (Unreal: The Anthology).

And we also get selected reviews for each release including many from GRTR!

There are various veins running through Angel Air's deep mining of obscure catalogue: as the label developed, Purnell established a rapport with 'families' of artists so we get - for example - excellent coverage of Mott The Hoople and Gillan-related and more recently the great Stackridge - alongside the more obscure one-offs which otherwise would have been confined to dark corners of vinyl emporium.

McCarraher devotes only one fairly succinct chapter to Purnell's business model and the trials and tribulations of establishing a major independent label. This makes compulsive reading especially against the current industry climate where most labels struggle and I am sure there are further anecdotes to be told, not least about the artists themselves.

But, this perhaps misses the point in what is essentially a celebration rather than a dissection of Angel Air's art. After reading this from cover to cover, we should raise a glass of red wine to Mr Purnell and his fellow health workers. And here's to the next decade of helping rock's over-40s.


Review by David Randall, (April 2007)


It's a wonderful tome, perfect for dipping in and out of when the mood strikes you, and an excellent introduction to a mountain of music that you might otherwise never have heard of.

From Affinity to Zzebra, Angel Air has been responsible for some genuinely exciting releases. Great swathes of the old Vertigo catalog, for example, have been supplemented by highlights of those same artists' work beyond the confines of the familiar swirl label. The Mott The Hoople family tree has been lovingly tended, while such unsung heroes as Mo Foster and Ray Fenwick have been revealed as having a finger in more musical pies than you ever dreamed.

Alex Harvey, Carmen, the Blue Oyster Cult, Maria Muldaur, Roger Chapman, Stackridge - Angel Air's catalog is as eclectic as it is vast, and this doorstop of a tome is a fitting tribute to a label that has been described, with good reason, as 'the Indiana Jones of the music world.' Here's to the next ten years!

Jo-Ann Greene, Goldmine (April 2007)

"Angel Air Is Ten" is the new book by James McCarraher - also author of the SAILOR biography and the Georg Kajanus biography.

Angel Air has earned a reputation as the honest face of the music business. Their motto is 'Where The Artist Has A Voice'. In the preceding ten years, they have released over 230 albums and 30 DVDs. They have become the darlings of the music press, taking enormous care over the quality of recordings, CD booklets and ensuring that each and every release represents value for money.

The book details the development of the label, its philosophy, and lists all releases with reviews.

They have released the DVD "Pirate Copy - SAILOR Live In Concert" as well as several SAILOR CDs plus recordings by other SAILOR-related bands like Affinity, Ice etc.

Have a look!!

Katrin Wagner, Sailor Club (May 2007)


The book is an easy read and, although telling a tale of a decent honest slant on a company in the music business, it is also an ideal source of reference to the artists involved, and also manages to throw up a few surprises along the way.

Nigel Filby, Diss Express (June 2007)


By the time you reach the discography, the lingering impression is that Angel Air is a firm that doesn't market its musical produce like tins of beans...Ten years after, Angel Air remains as enthused by the quality of its output as by financial gain

Alan Clayson, Record Collector (August 2007)