Gip's place has a certain energy about it. Mr. Gip is nearly 100 years old and people come from all over the world to visit him and to hear the blues in one of America's last juke joints.
Gip’s Place, located at 3101 Avenue C in Bessemer Alabama, is one of America’s last Juke Joints. Musicians and patrons both come from all over the world to be a part of the magic that is Gip’s Place. When we met up with Gip on the eve of his 99th birthday and he told us about his lifelong relationship with the blues.
The history of Gip’s Place
A gravedigger by day and a bluesman by night, Henry ‘Gip’ Gipson started Gip’s Place as a garage for musicians to get together and jam all the way back in 1952. The tin roofed roadhouse located in Gip’s own backyard is a true house of blues and one of the few remaining Juke Joints that make you feel like ‘way back when’ is here and now.
More than just the blues
Mr. Gip loves to have a good time and even though he likes to have a few drinks, he can quote you some scripture too. Every Saturday night at Gip’s things start with a prayer and Amazing Grace. Faith and religion are a big part of not only Gip’s life but his whole philosophy of what he wants people to take away from a visit to Gip’s place.
Disappearing Juke Joints
Juke Joints that were once prevalent in the south are now all but gone. As owner’s pass away, so do the traditions and the impact that these ramshackle blues huts had on American music. B.B. King, Muddy Waters, and Buddy Guy are just a few of the artists that used to play night after night in Juke Joints all across the south and the music that they played, the blues, can be found in the DNA of almost all modern music. While the music might live on, the juke joints are disappearing. Gip’s Place is the last remaining Juke Joint in the entire state of Alabama, so it goes without saying that you need to pay a visit to Gip’s Place as soon as possible and experience the magic that could only come from visiting a genuine juke joint.
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