Remembering Leon Dudley

I have met or learned of some of the most interesting people through conversations with Max Morath. Recently he happened to mention his work in Pueblo, Colorado, as program manager at radio station KGHF about 1950 and his fond memories of working with Leon Dudley, a local musician. Much of the information for this article comes from Max’s recollections and telephone conversations with his Leon’s sons. David is still in Pueblo and the oldest son Don, lives in the Boston, Massachusetts area, Leon was a popular local pianist who had a regular radio program on Pueblo station KGHF. In the late 1950s Max did a stint as program director, announcer, and occasional performer there. The station went on the air at 11:30 weekdays and the two men would meet for coffee every morning before Leon went on the air. They became close friends and Max can vividly recall Leon in the studio with the large nine-foot grand piano and Max in the control room, According to a station employee quoted in the Pueblo paper, Max and Leon would sit for hours at the station’s twin pianos improvising and perfecting their styles. Even today over seventy years later, Max speaks in glowing terms of Leon’s talent and remembers his gregarious personality, quick mind, and his amazing sensory ability. To Max, this was all the more amazing because Lean had been blind from birth. Leon Dudley (pronounced with the stres
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Larry Melton was a founder of the Scott Joplin Ragtime Festival in 1974 and the Sedalia Ragtime Archive in 1976. He was a Sedalia Chamber of Commerce manager before moving on to Union, Missouri where he is currently helping to conserve the Ragtime collection of the Sedalia Heritage Foundation. Write him at [email protected].

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