Lon Bronson heard of Gregg Allman’s death Saturday afternoon as he glanced at a news update on his phone. Bronson quickly called his friend and fellow musician Jim Buck. “I know why you’re calling,” Buck said to Bronson. “I’ll be there.”
The unspoken message was that Bronson needed Buck to perform the Allman Brothers classic “Whipping Post” that night during the Lon Bronson Band show at Cabaret Jazz. A member of Bronson’s band for more than a decade, Buck always sings that song — no, he destroys it — but had no plans to play it that night. Buck was busy backing Terry Fator at the Mirage, which is his regular gig.
The Fator show started at 7:30 p.m., a half-hour earlier than Bronson’s performance.
“I’ll make it work, somehow,” Buck said. He followed through, showing up at about 9:30 p.m. — given added travel time because of a nifty, long-running solo by fellow guitarist Jimmy McIntosh.
Buck hopped onstage and told the sold-out audience, “Before I ever knew of the legend, the mighty Lon Bronson, I was playing with Michael Grimm at the Big Apple Bar at New York-New York. Lon watched us play and got up to leave, and we started ‘Whipping Post.’ And he sat back down.”
Buck has been with Bronson ever since that night in 2008.
“That’s extremely accurate,” Bronson said later. “Probably the biggest reason I asked Jim to join the band was because I heard him sing and play ‘Whipping Post’ that night.” And never with more passion than in tribute to Allman.