Angel Air 2013
Coming of age, a glorified British label celebrates its sweet – but not so little – sixteenth.
With more than 5,000 tracks, both old and new, in its treasure chest, it could have been quite a challenge for Peter Purnell’s company to select only one for each year of Angel Air’s existence. Pinning these on the date of their release wasn’t an option, for the timespan is too wide here from the late ’70 to the Noughties, so following the label’s action on Spotify and Deezer is as good a criterion as any. More so, it levels real hits such as John Du Cann’s heavy nugget “Don’t Be A Dummy”, penned by no other than Gary Numan, and Johnny Warman’s apocalyptic reggae “Screaming Jets”, featuring Peter Gabriel, with equally powerful, if not charted, songs like Maggie Bell’s bluesy sway around “No Mean City” or Eric Bell’s plaintive “Irish Boy” remindful of his “Whiskey In The Jar” solo of yore.
Some choices speak volume of the listener tastes, for BROKEN ENGLISH’s “Do You Really Want Me Back” sounds rather dated, though arresting, whereas “Oh Yeah” from BROKEN HOME still possesses an uplifting groove, which is picked up here with THE KORGIS’ pellucid, keening “This World’s For Everyone”. The same transparency permeates Mo Foster’s bass-shifting on new-agey “Analytical Engine”, bookended with Ray Russell’s soulful “Sweet Surrender” and STACKRIDGE’s jolly “The Road To Venezuela” that somehow echoes in THE STORYS’ folk-tinged “Everybody Wants You To Make It” linked also to the 9-minute “Slow Ride” by the boogie smoothers FOGHAT.
So, for all the variety on display, there’s a common thread running through these 16 pieces, a fine birthday line for any label out there. Long may it run.
The compilation includes tracks from the following albums, reviewed on this site:
BROKEN ENGLISH – The Rough With The Smooth
Johnny Warman – Walking Into Mirrors
THE KORGIS – This World’s For Everyone
Maggie Bell – No Mean City
STACKRIDGE – The Man In The Bowler Hat
FOGHAT – Not Live At The BBC
John Du Cann – The Many Sides Of: 1967-1980
THE STORYS – Luck
Rob Thompson – Dust
Eric Bell – Irish Boy