Helpline (Deluxe Edition) - now available on iTunes & Apple Music

By kevinhewick, Jul 22 2016 08:18AM

Exciting news from the Sorted Records facebook page:

"Helpline" by Kevin Hewick is the latest in our expanded re-issues of classic Sorted albums. Originally released in 1999, it now features 5 bonus tracks, one previously unreleased. Available now to download or stream on iTunes, other digital platforms will follow shortly.

This has come together very quickly, Dave Dixey said to me about doing this as part of his digital reissue of the Sorted Records catalogue at my The Criterion show less than 2 weeks ago and now here it is..

Hitting 40 and as the decade and century was ebbing away I made another doomed bid to 'come back' and recapture my 80s 'heights' with 'Helpline'. Dixey gave me a HQ, The Durham Ox and being a part of the hip and happening Sorted roster.

The album we ended up releasing demanded the formidable studio production skills of the late great Paul Allatson, Kevin Bayliss AKA Reverb, Gaz Birtles and Steve Baker and guest appearances by Gaz, Paul and son Lee and Jock and Matt Kerry.

It took an unanticipated long time to record, 15 months, a gap of 5 months between sessions at one point. I felt it slipping away from me, I was just too desperate to try to get something back that I never quite had. I have perspective now and I can listen to this like it was someone else, some erratic cult figure from long ago. I can hear how hard he was trying to be.. something.. A lot of the people close to me then have died or refuse to speak to me these days and I can hear the unease about that in the lyrics.. Project normal family man was soon over and then I had no appetite to promote this beast. It got just one national review, a highly sympathetic one by Joe Cushley in Mojo magazine but within a couple of months of it coming out life events had totally swamped me and it was like it never happened, I was just a phantom night after night stood at the bar of The Royal Mail, a wonderful lost Leicester pub that's as gone with the wind as a lot of the emotional landscape of 'Helpline' has gone..

..but however much I cringe at certain aspects of my performances they are very unique songs, inventive and weirdly beautiful. They do reach out to you dear listener if you let them.

I had even forgotten about some of them, maybe purged their memory even, but I was very touched to hear them again, like an out of body experience.

Dave Dixey and I have also looked at the vast amounts of out-takes alternate versions and mixes and one truly remarkable desk recording Paul Allatson did of a 1998 live set I did at an unlikely venue, The Loaded Dog.

I think a lot of this will also emerge in some digital form quite soon.

The bonus tracks here are my contributions to Sorted Records compilations Tour-Ars-Fit, Suction Prints and Havock Junction and an amazing unreleased dance trance mix from 2005 of 'The Loneliest Kind Of Lonely' by the enigmatic Soul Sonic Sauce, a man said to somewhat resemble Ed Bryning so I am told..

17 years on I still feel nervous about all this stuff. Stripping yourself so bare can turn you into a skeleton and often nobody thanks you for it.

And older but no wiser I'm off stripping again with my new new album 'Touching Stones, Tasting Rain' which is next up later this month - hey, I figured I might as well flood the market..

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