Farm Boy Becomes Popular Musician
Edgar A. L Allison, Eddie, as he was called by family members, was born on 10 November 1924 on his grandfather’s, J.G. Nazarenus, farm near Galeton, Weld County, Colorado, to Edgar Allison and Lydia Jewel Nazarenus Allison. He spent his boyhood in Galeton, moving to Denver in 1939.
Eddie began his musical career with piano and organ lessons from his mother and clarinet lessons while in grade school. He played almost every instrument by ear including violin, saxophone, accordion, mandolin, banjo, trumpet, flute, and every type of guitar. He taught himself how to play the steel guitar and went on to become one of Denver’s most popular country and western disc jockey and musician.
He served in the United States Navy in World War II from 1943-1946 at which time he served on the USS Venango AKA 82 going to the Philippines, Hawaii, China, Guam, Saipan, French Indo China, and through the Panama Canal. His overseas tour of duty lasted one year to the day. He stated that the invasion of Okinawa was the toughest battle in which he and his shipmates were involved. Eddie went to radio school in Indianapolis, IN and was then stationed at Texas A & M, and then Ft. Pierce LL. After his Navy service he went back to Denver.
Maurice J. Davolt, who owned Denver radio station, LKAK from 1955 to 1961, hired Eddie as a disc jockey and a member of the "KLAK Ranch Hands”, the station’s band and his professional name became “Leon” during these years. “As a member of the Ranch Hands, Mr. Allison played hundreds of grand openings, promotions and hospital concerts. The Ranch Hands wore red western suits with white Stetsons, boots and neckerchiefs.
Leon and his band visited the KFKA radio station for a live performance from the Camfield Hotel in Greeley in the late 1950s or early 1960s. The performance was viewed from the sidewalk through the windows of the station.
During his career, he played the Grand Ole Opry with such stars as Faron Young, Webb Pierce, Elvis Presley, and Marvin Rainwater. Later, he was a member of several bands, namely the Western Playboys, Country Cavaliers, and Midnight Country Express.
Eddie also taught music and owned a music store on South Santa Fe Drive in Denver in the late 1970s or early 1980s.
In 1983, Eddie returned “home” to his farming roots and moved to Riverton, Wyoming but he didn’t leave his love for music behind as he continued playing locally.
His steel guitar and enjoyment of music was silenced in 1990 but memory of his wonderful talent and music lives on.