Not too many people knew the man named Allen Worrell, but people everywhere were familiar with the man known as “Big Al.”

For more than 50 years, Big Al was a pioneering musician from Bluff Dale, playing guitar in Fort Worth on the Panther Hall TV show with music stars Willie Nelson and George Jones, back when the pair were just upstarts.

But on May 24, Big Al suffered a fatal heart attack. He was 65.

But while Big Al is gone, the Cleburne Elks Lodge hopes to keep his memory and music going indefinitely.

The Elks are organizing a benefit concert for Big Al’s family today from noon to 5 p.m. at the Elks Lodge, at U.S. 67 and Farm-to-Market Road 1434.

Food will be served, and Big Al’s demo CDs and DVDs will be available for purchase. Local entertainers planning to play include Derwod Strew, Teddy Driscoll, Bob Bone, Burl Haley, James Glenn, Dean Charles, Tommy Hughes, Gary Van Wye, Ray Alston and others. A live auction and door-prize giveaway will also be held.

Sabrina Allen, Big Al’s daughter, said the benefit is set to end at 5 p.m. but will likely go longer.

“It’s gonna be a big extravaganza,” she said. “Lots of people are gonna be there, and it’s nice too because he played a lot of benefits himself.”

Since losing her dad, Sabrina said life has been a little tougher.

“It’s been pretty hard. I used to talk to him every day,” she said. “He used to call every morning just to say, ‘What are you doing today, baby.”

And she wasn’t the only one Big Al talked to.

“At the funeral I must have had about 20 people come up to me and say ‘I talked to your dad every day,’” she said. “The man must have been on the phone all day long.”

In addition to his friendly demeanor, Allen said her dad just loved to entertain people.

“He would always have a joke when you needed it,” she said. “And he just loved singing and making music.”

Allen said her father likely had the talent to go far in the music industry, but a fear of flying kept him from making recording trips.

“The benefit means a lot to us because he didn’t have the courage to go record an album.” she said. “Now people are offering money just so they can have some of his music.”

Though Big Al never took the chance to make it big, Allen said his music affected people right up until the day he died.

“Two weeks before he died, a lady came up to him and said she knew a Big Al from Panther Hall, and he got excited and said, ‘It’s me, it’s me.’” Allen said. “Then a week later, she brought him a signed photograph of himself from 1956. It really just meant the world to him that someone cared so much about him.”

For concert information, call 817-558-2249.

Philip Navarrette can be reached at

817-645-2441, ext. 2337, or

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