V1655. JOSEF LOCKE: Hear my song – 24 Original Recordings. (England) ASV AJA 5359, recorded 1947-49. Final copy!
“Throughout Belfast Josef (Locke) McLaughlin became known as the 'Singing Bobby' as he was drawn to the clubs and theatres, auditioning across the city until he was successful in obtaining a £7 per week contract at the Empire Theatre. After watching one of his performances at the Empire, it was John McCormack who encouraged Joseph to take his talents across the Irish Sea and try his luck on the English variety shows. Arriving in England in 1944, Joseph began his training in the variety theatres around the country, wooing the audiences with his mix of popular songs and his emotional renditions of the old music hall songs. Eventually his lucky break came when he met Harry Hylton, who became his manager. Hylton succeeded in getting Joseph the top spot at the Palace Theatre, London. Excited, Joseph went along to 'see his name in lights' only to find someone called Josef Locke was topping the bill. Disappointed, he contacted Hylton to find out what had happened. Harry Hylton explained that the name Joseph McLaughlin was too long for the billboard. Hylton was also to say that there would be less than 10,000 people in England that would be able to pronounce the surname correctly. As for Josef, it was thought it would look more even on the billboard. Eventually satisfied with this reasoning and relieved to find he still had the top of the bill at the Palace Theatre, Joseph McLaughlin became Josef Locke in 1945, a name he was to keep for the rest of his life. It took a further two years for Josef Locke to get his very first record contract. He signed to Colombia Records in 1947 after he was recommended to them by George Formby. Later that year his first record ‘Santa Lucia’ was released, quickly followed by’Come Back To Sorrento’. Unfortunately, Locke also became noticed by the Inland Revenue, who began making demands for large payments of unpaid taxes. It was during the summer of 1958, as Josef Locke was performing the last of his record-breaking 19 consecutive seasons at the holiday resort of Blackpool, that plans were being prepared to assist Locke to leave the country to avoid paying the crippling tax bill. All was quiet until 1992, when the Peter Chelsom film HEAR MY SONG was released. Again, record sales surged. The film is a fantasy based on the idea of Locke returning from exile, resuming an old love affair and saving a Liverpool-Irish club from ruin.”
- Ned Ludd