A mystery solved
1997 was a heady year for the Jimmie Spheeris restoration project. Sony had recently agreed to let the late Johnny Pierce reissue Jimmie's catalog on CD. Johnny asked me to create cover art and packaging for the project and I immediately agreed to donate services. Johnny was working crazy deadlines to get Jimmie's catalog remastered. A phone call with an engineer at Sony confirmed what we most feared: Jimmie's master analog tapes were deteriorating and we were racing the clock to preserve his work before it became unsalvageable. Meanwhile, I was working to digitally restore cover art from high-resolution scans of old LP album covers.
A package arrived from New York that fall, postmarked October 17, 1997 (see the image above). It was sent by Jimmie fan Lori Herbison in response to some email she and I had previously swapped. Lori's package was a treasure trove: A letter Jimmie sent to her written in his hand, plus a copy of a photo I'd been trying to track down for years Jimmie in a leather jacket and velvet gloves, with his pet crow (named "Oh").
The only other copy of the photo I had in the archives was a poor quality xerox from a concert poster the late Paul Delph gave me years ago. I'd been hunting for an original print for years because I wanted to use the image as cover art on the final CD release.
To my horror, I managed to lose Lori's package. I could type lots of excuses about why that happened (busy trying to pay the bills, working a hectic timeline for graphics on the Jimmie CDs, living under a constant avalanche of paper, and my general inability to stay organized) but in the end there's no excuse for misplacing such a heartfelt gift.
Lori was rightfully distressed when I told her I couldn't find the package. To my delight, I found it on the last week of August 2007 while purging old files.
I attempt to clear out some of the clutter in closets full of old paperwork every few years. While going through a project from late '97, a large envelope caught my eye. Inside, along with old work orders, concept sketches and invoices, I found Lori's package. Clearly, I'd had some sort of massive brain fart and dropped Lori's package into an old archive.
A mystery solved.
I made new high-res scans and mailed the originals back to Lori. I have no idea who took this photograph. If you're the photographer (or have any leads), please contact us.
Thanks again to Lori for making this image available ... and for waiting a decade to see it resurface.
For a free high-resolution PDF of the photo above, click and copy to your hard drive. You can print it on high-quality photo paper or take it to any pro photo retailer for a print.
File name: jimmie_lori.pdf