PROG REISSUE LABELS ROUND-UP by Jo-Ann Greene
Peter and Shirley Purnell made the leap
from running a music management company to launching a label at the
suggestion of ex-Gillan member John McCoy. It was, as Peter simply puts
it, "a way to put a stop to chasing other record companies for payment
of unpaid royalties or licensing product on behalf of our clients."
With industry connections already firmly in place, the husband and wife
team saw the label as "a logical progression". And so Angel Air Records
was launched in January, 1997, inaugurated, appropriately enough, by
McCoy’s own Think Hard Again (SPJCD001) album.
"We are an out and out Heritage Label, and proud of that fact," Peter
declares. "We work with artists we like, respect and have a natural
And that’s not merely hyperbole, for working closely with artists has
Angel Air’s key to success. "The artist oversees mastering, artwork,
editorial, etc. to make sure that the release is perfect," Purnell
explains. "We involve them as much as possible and practicable in the
creative aspects of each and every release, and we are fairly unique in
that we share 50/50 all the profits on our releases with the artists."
Satisfied artists have insured that Angel Air grew quickly, branching
out far beyond the confines of a strictly heritage label. Happy musical
campers swiftly contacted friends and former bandmates, helping the
label’s catalogue mushroom in size. Along the way, Angel Air has created
veritable aural family trees for Atomic Rooster, Stackridge, Deep
Purple, and Mott the Hoople, unleashing a slew of CDs dedicated to both
the motherships and the members’ own pre- and post-projects.
Every reissue is normally accompanied by a bumper crop of previously
unreleased bonus tracks, drawn from band members’ own archives, as well
as with expansive booklets that carefully trace the group’s history.
Offering a welcoming home to out-takes, demos, and live concert tapes,
Angel Air has worked hard to sate fans’ thirst for forgotten, seemingly
lost, or previously unknown buried treasures, whilst simultaneously
releasing newer material from beloved veteran artists.
Sprawling happily through the classics of the Vertigo swirl label
(Warhorse and Affinity rank amongst the label’s most welcome reissues),
across hardrock and the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and even
dipping a toe in New Wave and pop, Angel Air is a collector’s godsend.
In honor of their 10th anniversary, Sarum Publishing is putting out
Angel Air Is 10, a hardback history of the label which will also feature
reviews of every one of its releases.
Angel Air itself is celebrating by releasing John McCoy’s 2CD Unreal the
Anthology set, bringing the label full circle. Albums from Mott, Atomic
Rooster, Stackridge, The Korgis, and ex-Foghatter’s Tony Stevens’s Slow
Ride are imminent, as are DVDs from Maggie Bell & Midnight Flyer,
British Lions and Diesel Park West. Although Angel Air was built on the
past, they remain forward-looking, and, as the exclusive owners of 3,000
audio and 500 plus concert clips, are busily exploring licensing
agreements, digital downloads and ringtones.
No wonder, then, that a decade on young bands still attempt to gatecrash
their party, and are continually shown the door. "We advise them that
you have to be over 40 to have product released on Angel Air," Purnell
laughs, "the silence in their non-response is deafening."
Reproduced from 'Goldmine' (USA)