All Stars concert celebrates 40 years of local rhythm and blues


Carson VanBuskirk | @carsonvanbDE

Tawl Paul sings on Thursday, April 18, 2019, at the All Stars Reunion Concert in The Varsity Center in Carbondale.

By Elizabeth Biernacki, Staff Reporter

Rhythm and Blues musicians from across Southern Illinois reunited Thursday night to host an “All Stars” concert, celebrating blues heritage and WSIU’s May 2001 taping of “Studio A Café.” 

The performance featured local performers such as James Barnes, Wilma Carter, Tawl Paul (Paul Frederick), Joey Odum, Wally Hooker and many more. Photographs of bands and performers adorned the walls of the theater’s entryway, recounting the history of the event.

“I’ve been playing with these guys off and on for over 20 years, since I was a kid, since Tawl Paul was a kid,” Shadi Frick, a performer and Carbondale Middle School band director, said.

After the performances, “The Last Blues Singer,” a documentary about “Big Larry” Williams – the All Stars’ late mentor – was played for the audience. Tributes were also paid to Sharon Clark, one of the leading voices who drove the band.



“There’s other YouTube videos of us playing at the Hangar [9]. Larry [is] in a wheelchair singing right before he passed,” Joe Castrejon, All Stars leader and president of Sound Core Music & Video, said.

“Big Larry” Williams was a local legend before he passed in 2017, as was Sharon Clark, who passed in the same year, according to a Southern Illinoisan article.

“Typically what we do is mourning concerts, fundraisers for the before and after they passed,”  Castrejon said. “But we figure why not celebrate what we’ve done all these years.”

The documentary, “Coming Home: Big Twist and the Mellow Fellows,” was played for the audience to close out the night.

“It’s the magic of getting all these guys together, no rehearsals, just jumping up there,” Castrejon said. “Getting all the different guys and different mixtures of singers, it’s just gonna be enjoyable for the band.”

Staff reporter Elizabeth Biernacki can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @EBiernacki_619.

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