An absolute classic in the world of bad music, the cover turns up time and time again on those ‘bad album art’ sites, but people seldom bother with the audio, which is a shame as Gary Schneider’s demented, off-kilter takes on lounge classics are a gas.
Issued on his own Schmaltzy Records label, Just For Fun, Just For Friends is the only album from Gary Schneider, a San Francisco Bay-based lounge organist and entertainer. Originally from the American Midwest, for a number of years he provided the in-house entertainment at the Driftwood Lounge in Alameda, CA, and was known for his by somewhat risque humour, which would include singing dirty parody lyrics to some of the best-known lounge standards: What A Difference A Day Makes became What A Difference Getting Laid Makes, I Left My Heart In San Francisco became I Lost My Ass In San Francisco and so on.
“I made this album, in 1979,” he says. “I was just having fun. I'm still very much alive and living in Alameda. I had a good 35-year run in the organ bar business, but it's a dead horse now.” Gary employed all manner of keyboards, electronic effects and so on for his recording: “The device I used for the talking guitar was the Sonovox. It was invented by Gilbert Wright in about 1938 and was used in the movies and on old time radio” Predating the Vocoder by decades, you can see a clip of the Sonovox in use in 1940 here:
If you can bear the whole album, you can find it at Mr Weird and Wacky, but for now here are two tracks – Green Tambourine (“I still prefer the Lemon Pipers’ version”, says Gary; personally I think he gives Mrs. Miller a run for her money here) and Sweet Georgia Brown.