Allen, Ward

(Warden Ambrose) Allen Ward. Fiddler, composer, b Kirkton, near London, Ont, 11 May 1924, d Hull, Que, 3 Aug 1965. He began fiddling at 12, often performing with his brother Lorne, from whom he learned much of his repertoire. After working as a harvester in Manitoba and as a logger in British Columbia, he returned in the late 1940s to western Ontario, where he was heard on the CKNX Barn Dance from Wingham. He won several competitions at this time, including the open class of the 1953 Canadian Open Old Time Fiddlers' Contest. He toured Canada with Wilf Carter 1954-6 and in 1958 and performed in Ottawa with the Happy Wanderers 1955-64on CFRA radio and 1964-5 on CJOH TV.

Allen began recording for Sparton in 1954, completing three volumes of Ward Allen Presents Maple Leaf Hoedown (SP-203, SP-210, SP-213), posthumously reissued in part as Best of Ward Allen (2-GRT 2230-1031). His recording of his own Maple Sugar was a hit in Canada and the USA in 1957. The tune, considered a classic of the Canadian fiddle repertoire, has also been recorded by many other performers. Other popular Allen tunes include Frank Ryan's Hornpipe, C.N.E. Breakdown, Frisco Waltz, Maple Leaf Two-Step, Ken's Favourite, Back Up and Bush, Fishing Rod Reel, and Blue Pacific Hornpipe. Two volumes of Ward Allen Canadian Fiddle Tunes were published (1956, 1961) by BMI Canada. Allen was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville, Tenn, in 1965.

Lorne (Amber) Allen (fiddler, b Kirkton 1914), by trade a construction worker, also played on CKNX and for dances in the Ottawa area. His son Jimmy (James Lindsay) Allen (fiddler, b Kirkton 9 Mar 1946), also active in the Ottawa Valley area, has recorded A Tribute to the Late Ward Allen (Banff RBS-1253). A second posthumous tribute, Old Time Fiddle Favorites of Ward Allen (Point PS-328), was recorded by Graham Townsend.