See Rock City

See Rock City

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Ripley, TN

Ripley Sunrise

Ripley is a city in Lauderdale County, Tennessee, United States. The population was 7,844 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Lauderdale County.


Tomato Festival

Lauderdale County Tomato Festival
Hosted by Ripley, the Lauderdale County Tomato Festival is an annual celebration of the tomato. The festival attracts much attention in the Mid-South.

Other annual events

Ripley is also home to the annual Labor Day, Memorial Day, and Christmas parades.

East side of Ripley Park shortly after the Lauderdale County Fair.

Ripley parks and recreation

Ripley Park, also known as Ripley Pool and Waterslide, is located at 200 Mary Robert. Its facilities include: pool with water slide, playground equipment, four rentable pavilions, grills, a baseball field, a jogging trail, large grassy areas with well-kept fauna, soft drink machines, public telephones, parking, restrooms, and the park office.

TKS Fitness Center

TKS Fitness Center is Ripley's sole, membership-required fitness center. The fitness center is located at 200 Knee Street, near Ripley High School.

Notable residents

Born in Ripley

Sleepy John Estes

Sleepy John Estes - Blues guitarist,

John Adam Estes (25 January 1899 or 1904[2] — 5 June 1977 commonly known as Sleepy John Estes or Sleepy John, was a U.S. blues guitarist songwriter and vocalist, born in Ripley, Tennessee.


In 1915, Estes's father, a sharecropper who also played some guitar, moved the family to Brownsville, Tennessee. Not long after, Estes lost the sight of his right eye when a friend threw a rock at him during a baseball game. At the age of 19, while working as a field hand, he began to perform professionally. The venues were mostly local parties and picnics, with the accompaniment of Hammie Nixon, a harmonica player, and James "Yank" Rachell, a guitarist and mandolin player. He would continue to work, on and off, with both musicians for more than fifty years.

Estes made his debut as a recording artist in Memphis, Tennessee in 1929, at a session organized by Ralph Peer for Victor Records. His partnership with Nixon was first documented on songs like "Drop Down Mama" and "Someday Baby Blues" in 1935; later sides replaced the harmonica player with the guitarists Son Bonds or Charlie Pickett. He later recorded for the Decca and Bluebird labels, with his last pre-war recording session taking place in 1941. He made a brief return to recording at Sun Studio in Memphis in 1952, recording "Runnin' Around" and "Rats in My Kitchen," but otherwise was largely out of the public eye for two decades.

Though only modestly skilled as a guitarist (he was frequently teamed with more capable musicians, like Rachell, Nixon, and the piano player Jab Jones), Estes was a fine singer, with a distinctive "crying" vocal style. He sounded so much like an old man, even on his early records, that blues revivalists reportedly delayed looking for him because they assumed he would have to be long dead, and because fellow musician Big Bill Broonzy had written that Estes had died. By the time he was tracked down, by Bob Koester and Samuel Charters in 1962, he had become completely blind and was living in poverty. He resumed touring and recording, reunited with Nixon and toured Europe several times and Japan, with a clutch of albums released on the Delmark Records label. Though his later records are generally considered less interesting than his pre-war output. Nevertheless, Estes, Nixon and Rachell also made a successful appearance at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival.

Bob Dylan mentions Estes in the sleevenotes to Bringing It All Back Home (1965).

Many of Estes's original songs were based on events in his own life or on people he knew from his home town, such as the local lawyer ("Lawyer Clark Blues"), local auto mechanic ("Vassie Williams' Blues"), or an amorously inclined teenage girl ("Little Laura Blues"). He also dispensed advice on agricultural matters ("Working Man Blues") and chronicled his own attempt to reach a recording studio for a session by hopping a freight train ("Special Agent (Railroad Police Blues)"). His lyrics combined keen observation with an ability to turn an effective phrase.

Some accounts attribute his nickname of Sleepy to a blood pressure disorder and/or narcolepsy. Others, such as blues historian Bob Koester, claim he simply had a "tendency to withdraw from his surroundings into drowsiness whenever life was too cruel or too boring to warrant full attention."

Estes suffered a stroke and died on June 5, 1977 and is buried at Durhamville Baptist Church in Durhamville, Tennessee.

In 1991 Estes was posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

Peetie Wheatstraw

Peetie Wheatstraw - Blues musician,

Peetie Wheatstraw (December 21, 1902 – December 21, 1941) was the name adopted by singer William Bunch, a greatly influential figure among 1930s blues singers. Although the only known picture of Bunch shows him holding a National brand tricone resonator guitar, he played the piano on most of his recordings.

Early life and career

Wheatstraw was born William Bunch in Ripley, Tennessee but was widely believed to have come from Arkansas. His body was shipped to Cotton Plant, Arkansas for burial, and fellow musician Big Joe Williams stated that this was his home town.

The earliest biographical facts are those of fellow musicians such as Henry Townsend and Teddy Darby who remember Peetie moving to St Louis in the late 1920s. He was already a proficient guitarist, but a limited pianist. By the time Sunnyland Slim moved to St Louis in the early 1930s, Peetie was one of the most popular singers with an admired idiosyncratic piano style.

Wheatstraw began recording in 1930 and was so popular that he continued to record through the worst years of the Great Depression, when the numbers of blues records issued was drastically reduced. However, he made no records between March 1932 and March 1934, a period in which he pefected his mature style.

For the rest of his life, he was one of the most recorded Blues singers and accompanists. His total output of 161 recorded songs was surpassed by only four pre-war Blues artists: Tampa Red, Big Bill Broonzy, Lonnie Johnson and Bumble Bee Slim (Amos Easton). Among the clubs of St Louis and East St Louis his popularity was outstanding, rivalled only by Walter Davis. Despite rumours of his touring, there is little evidence that he worked outside these cities, except to make records.


Wheatstraw's influence was enormous during the 1930s. Perhaps the most obvious example of Wheatstraw's impact can be seen in the writings of Robert Johnson, often considered the most important Blues figure of the era. Many of Johnson's own recordings were actually re-workings of other popular artists of the time, and he drew heavily from Wheatstraw's repertoire.


Wheatstraw was still riding the crest of his success when he met his premature demise. On December 21, 1941, his 39th birthday, he and some friends decided to take a drive. They tried to entice Wheatstraw's friend, the blues singer Teddy Darby, but Darby's wife refused to let him join them. Wheatstraw was a passenger in the back seat when the Buick struck a standing freight train, instantly killing his two companions. Wheatstraw died of massive head injuries in the hospital some hours later. There is a legend that his death drew little attention, but the accident was fully reported in St Louis and East St Louis newspapers and obituaries appeared in the national music press. Down Beat led the front page for January 15 1942 with the story of the accident and an appreciation of Peetie's career under the headline Blues Shouter Killed After Waxing 'Hearseman Blues'.

Unique Treats and Southern Sportsman in Ripley

River Boat on the Mississippi River

Until The Cows Come Home

City of Ripley Park