Gip’s Place in Bessemer was one of America’s last Juke Joints

Gip's place had a certain energy about it. At the time of this interview Mr. Gip was nearly 100 years old and people came from all over the world to visit him and to hear the blues in one of America's last juke joints.

Gip’s Place was one of America’s last Juke Joints. Musicians and patrons both came from all over the world to be a part of the magic that was Gip’s Place. When we met up with Gip on the eve of his 99th birthday, he told us about his lifelong relationship with the blues.

The history of Gip’s Place

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

Gip's Place

Mr. Gip loved to have a good time and even though he liked to have a few drinks, he could quote you some scripture too. Every Saturday night at Gip’s things started with a prayer and Amazing Grace. Faith and religion were a big part of not only Gip’s life but his whole philosophy of what he wanted people to take away from a visit to Gip’s place.

Disappearing Juke Joints

gip's place

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.


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