Monday, July 5, 2021

Jami Porter

Hit up the ARC thrift on Colfax, and found a cache of Colorado LPs - right place, at the right time. Someone had donated a bin full of state-made vinyl. Very rare to see such a collection, in one place. Yeah, for a moment there I thought I was on Candid Camera, and someone had to be filming my reaction to seeing so many obscure Colorado records at one thrift store (grin).

Surprisingly (not surprisingly) I actually had almost all of the albums found in the bin. But then I noticed this 1979 unknown-to-me record by a singer, with the singular name, Jami. 

While the record did not show a Colorado address, nor any other indication it was from Colorado, there was a picture on the back cover of a girl, presumably the singer, sitting on top of a snow bank. I also recognized a "Dan Hoffman" in the liner notes. I assumed it was the Aspen-based Daniel P. Hoffman, who recorded the LPs Red Neck Hippie and Empty House. So I took a chance, and brought it home.

The minimalist production is coupled with amateur folky femme vocals. The songs sound like they belong in a guitar church worship service, with lots of uplifting lyrics - minus what sounds like a song about a deceased child.

Listen to "Little Baby Boy" (3:37)

I couldn't find much on the vocalist, Jami Porter. She appears to have moved from Colorado, shortly after the release of this album. She is not the Albuquerque-based artist, of the same name.

Dan Hoffman handles all of the instruments, on the record. The liner notes also give a shout-out to the Chapel of the Hills church, located west of Woodland Park, for choir backing vocals on one of the songs.

One name that did stand out was the artist behind the hand-drawn LP cover design - Sean O'Meallic. If you live in Denver, you are familiar with the artist Sean O' Meallie, the designer behind the Running Balloon Man sculpture at Denver RTD’s Central Park Station, and Cowboy Pajamas, at the Residence Inn on Champa St. In 2011, he was the artist behind the Manitou Chair Project - a temporary art installation, involving 600+ empty chairs lined up along Manitou Avenue, in Manitou Springs.

Could this person be one in the same, and this was simply an album credit typo?

"Yup, that was a typo," he told me.

"My then-girlfriend, now wife and I met Jami while working at the Broadmoor Hotel. We were part of the annual temporary tourist seasonal worker population. She asked me to create the cover, even though I was not of her, nor any, religious group. Though it felt awkward, it was certainly an honor to be asked. As I recall, she was pleased with the outcome."

He told me that the album was given as payment for his work. He lost track of Jami, after she left Colorado, about 40 years ago.

"I've never done another album cover, after that."

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