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Music Thursdays: Gip’s Place Is Still Playing The Blues

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Everyone should know about Gip’s Place!  Gip’s Place is a world-famous local blues joint that has operated since 1952.  Gip Gipson runs backyard blues parties every Saturday night in his backyard.  It’s one of the last remaining juke joints in America!  Gip’s Place is an Alabama treasure and is well-known by many people!  Earlier this year, the City of Bessemer tried to shut down Gip’s Place only because he operates the juke joint in a residential neighborhood.  For over 60 years, no one complained about this place.  Suddenly the police shows up to raid and shut down the place.  It does not make sense!

Thankfully, the City of Bessemer has allowed Gip’s Place to stay open!  But after the city tried to shut down the place, many people decided to quit coming.  The lack of promotion has made Gip’s Place very quiet on the weekends.  I was contacted by Melissa Trull Veitch, who is the new manager for Gip’s place in Bessemer.  She wanted me to talk about Gip’s Place and tell everyone that Gip’s Place is open, and they welcome anyone to come on down and enjoy the music!

Henry Gipson grew up in Uniontown, Alabama, some 80 years ago.  He worked at the Pullman Standard Railcar Company in Bessemer for 25 years, then began working for a funeral home digging graves.  Gip now owns his own cemetery, the Pine Hill Cemetery, about 15 miles west of Birmingham.  He still digs the graves himself.

In Bessemer Alabama there sits a tiny little secret.  Right in the backyard of Henry Gipson’s home sits a tin-covered shack, a tiny piece of long-lost blues history: the juke joint.  Gip’s Place, nothing more than a dilapidated building, is packed most Saturday nights.  Patrons tend to file in, bringing their own coolers to see who is going to show up and play that night.  They sit in rickety old chairs that were seemingly acquired from the funeral home Gip used to work at.  They come for the blues.

Gip’s Place lost many Facebook and Twitter followers since the City of Bessemer tried to shut Gip’s Place down.  Melissa has been on board for about six weeks working around the clock, trying to build him back up in any direction she can.  She wants everyone to know that Gip’s Place is still rocking every Saturday night!  Gip would love to see more people coming out every weekend!  You can enjoy some great blues music and chat with many people who loves music!  Gip’s Place starts playing music every Saturday night starting at 7 pm!

Follow the new Gip’s Place Facebook page at:  https://www.facebook.com/henrygip.gipson

Follow Gip on Twitter @HenryGipGipson

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