Family, friends say goodbye to legendary bluesman Henry Gipson

Laying Gip Gibson to rest

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - An Alabama Blues legend, Henry Gipson, or Gip as he was called, was laid to rest by loving friends and family in Bessemer Saturday.

There was mourning, celebration of life, and stories told by family members.

“He always told us as a family and everyone else, if you can’t say it, sing it. And he meant what he said. My great-granddaddy, he used to hold church in his own place along with his children and grandchildren. He was a man of God and I’m so grateful that I am part of his family,” says great-grandson Jaderrius Stewart.

Those feelings were shared by friends.

“It’s a devastating loss to me because other than my grandfather, I don’t think I’ve met a finer human being,” says one speaker.

“He was a man of love. And he made a difference. Amen, we’re going to miss him," says Pastor Alfonzo January.

A man known for bringing people together, black and white, under one roof, and known for changing lives.

“I was down on my faith and giving up on music cause I got tired of dealing with people and what he said and how he showed me love and showed me that, you know, you got to forgive people, and keep on, you know,” says musician Tex DeVille.

Remembering a real blues brother, and the family echoing that in the way they dressed. Mr. Gip ran what was known as Alabama’s last juke joint—a job he relished.

“This is my job and this is what I’ll do until I go out,” said Gipson in an interview from January 2019.

A place filled with harmony, both musical and spiritual, and most importantly, filled with love.

“There was no racism or nothing at his place, everybody came together as one," says one woman.

“It was a beautiful thing. And he showed you that. When you walked in that door, you can feel it," says another attendant.

Gipson was 99 years old.

Copyright 2019 WBRC. All rights reserved.