Gip Gipson

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Henry Gipson at Gip's Place. Photo by Lucas Carson Gockel

Henry Lee "Gip" Gipson Sr (born January 6, 1931, in Uniontown, Perry County; died October 8, 2019) is a former railroad car builder, the owner of the Pine Hill Cemetery and the proprietor of Gip's Place, a blues joint located in the back yard of his home on Avenue C in Bessemer.

Gipson worked at the Pullman Standard plant in Bessemer for 25 years before leaving to become a grave digger. He eventually purchased the Pine Hill Cemetery and continues to operate it himself. Henry and his wife, Regetta have eight children.

An avid blues fan and part-time musician, Gipson began hosting barbecues in his back yard for musicians to entertain friends and neighbors. The weekend events grew in popularity and he gradually added a small enclosure with a stage. Lenny Madden built the garage that now houses Gip's Place. Gipson and Jeff Dunaway keep up with maintenance and repairs on the juke joint. Later Diane Guyton came on as Gip's manager. Gipson was inducted into the Birmingham Record Collectors Hall of Fame in 2013.

In June 2019 Gipson was hospitalized with a urinary tract infection and was released to Diversicare of Bessemer for rehabilitation. In a dispute between Gipson's family and Guyton's management company, the Alabama Department of Human Resources issued a protective order enjoining his appearance at the venue during late-night events. Gipson's family planned to keep Gip's Place operating, however.

Gipson died in October 2019. His funeral service was held at Hopewell Baptist Church and he was buried at Lincoln Memorial Cemetery in Bessemer.


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