Purple Haze has an appropriate song to play on the night of Blake Beeman’s Celebration of Life in the Crystal Bay Casino.
“We are going to play ‘Angel’ for Blake,” said Ralph Woodson, the band leader of the Jimi Hendrix tribute trio. “Angel” is on Hendrix’s posthumous studio album “Cry of Love.”
Purple Haze plays in the Red Room at 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 2 after the Celebration of Life in the Crown Room.
“He was the nicest guy,” said Woodson, who plays at the Crystal Bay Casino about every three months. “He was a great sound man. He really knew what he was doing. I hear he was a great guitarist, too. He had a lot of respect for us and really gave us props. He really made us feel like we were at home every time we played there.”
Woodson said Beeman helped improve not just his sound, but his set, too.
“We did a sound check one night and we just started jamming and we stopped and he said, ‘No, don’t stop! Keep doing that.’ ” Woodson said. “So we kept jamming and afterward he said, ‘Wow, that’s the kind of thing I would pay money to see.’ That’s when we realized we should add the jam into the set. That’s where he was coming from.”
Beeman, who died of cancer this summer, was a champion for live music at North Shore,
“Live music is like church for the soul and the spirit,” Woodson said. “Or it can be like a hospital. It’s the part that the doctor doesn’t treat. It will heal your soul and your spirit.”
Woodson was inspired as a child to play guitar after he heard “Machine Gun,” a song from Hendrix’s “Band of Gypsys.” But it took many years before he played in front of an audience.
“ Me, I’m more introverted, so it was harder for me to get to that point of going onstage,” he said. “I couldn’t do it until I really had the chops. I couldn’t fake it. I had to get the chops before I could get the nerve. A lot of people do it the other way around.”