Influential Albums – 10) Dinner Music for People Who Aren’t Very Hungry

To celebrate the upcoming publication of my short story, “The Record Collector,” I’m finally doing the “post an influential album each day for 10 days” thing that several friends challenged me to do.

10 – Dinner Music for People Who Aren’t Very Hungry, Spike Jonesspikejones

There’s a moment in everyone’s life where you realize you just ain’t like the other kids.  This record was mine. For my 3rd grade class “Bring a Record” day, other kids brought Village People, Tommy Tutone, and the soundtrack to Grease. I brought this. They looked at me like I was from fucking Mars.

I got this album from my aunt and uncle. My grandfather, a barbershop quartet tenor, may have been the original owner. Listening to it was the musical equivalent of growing up obsessed with Little Rascals shorts and Bob Clampett and Tex Avery cartoons (which I also did). Our local TV station would use “Cocktails for Two” as background music for their “We’ll Be Right Back” breaks during Bowery Boys movies on Sunday afternoons.

This was, in hindsight, my gateway drug into the world of novelty records, making space for Dr. Demento a few years later, and Weird Al, but also Roger Miller, They Might Be Giants, Robbie Fulks, really anyone who recognizes the artistry behind “novelty” songwriting, “answer songs,” or other tongue-in-cheek musical madness. (Sidenote: Elvis Costello named his 1989 Warner Records debut “Spike” in honor of Mr. Jones.)

The linear notes on back cover are also hilarious (and befuddled 9-year-old me).


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