Ah, Miss Lily St. Cyr. There is no other. Some ladies know exactly how to take it off. In other words, she's taught you everything you know. Besides, since swimsuit season is upon us, we've all got to be ready to flaunt it, amirite? And what better way to get in shape then with a little wiggle here, a little wiggle there, and healthy dose of low-down stripper music? But, please, none of that nouveau burlesque electronica stuff. That modern stuff just doesn't go along with moves like this:
In the first of two Cheerful So-You-Think-You-Can-Strip Exclusives!, Ronnie Magri, a skilled drummer and producer currently based in New Orleans, brings you a mesmerizing collection of burlesque standards. Yes, this is a fairly new recording, but it's also nearly archeological, since Ronnie befriended and played with many New Orleans jazz greats (some of whom play here) and uses arrangements as they were first heard back in the 1930s, 40s and 50s. The attention to detail was worth it. From the first track onward, this CD feels slinky, bawdy and just a little bit exhausted, as if it were four in the morning and a hard-bitten burlesque babe was giving you everything she could at the end of a double shift. Yes, she's moving slow, but that only makes it better.
Luckily, classic burlesque photos and even footage abounds. There's also a terrific documentary which charts burlesque's evolution from vintage vaudeville right to edge of its extinction. It's well worth checking out if you haven't seen it.
And lucky, also, that a lot of the original music still survives, some of which can be heard in this essential Sonny Lester CD. Sonny, as you might know, started out as a much-in-demand trumpeter before leading several Big Band groups and founding a record label. Not surprisingly, his music and riffs are heavily sampled by artists to this day (whether they admit it or not), but, again, there ain't nuttin' like the real thing.
Which all begs the question: what's the opposite of a bawdy stripper in Old Hollywood? Why, it's none other than that classy Miss Jean Simmons:
Pretty and poised, she was perfectly cast in "This Could Be The Night," a 1957 clunker in which she plays a super-uptight teacher who's hired to work as a receptionist at a raucous, mob-owned nightclub. Hijinks ensue (of course).
But the soundtrack? Yeeeowza! No, really. This is swingin' Big Band jazz that all but shoots fire out of your speakers, courtesy of Ray Anthony, the jazz band leader who hit the big-time during WWII, and later achieved even great fame for this little ditty. Joining in the fun are vocalists Julie Wilson and Neile Adams. Trust me, whether you're stripping or not, you want this.
Meanwhile, Mildred, Edith and Elena would like to sing you a song or two - and, no, they aren't going to take their clothes off. But they will put a smile on your face. Just look how happy Pee-wee Herman is to see them!
In the 1950s, the Del Rubio Triplets were a fairly popular group of singers - and they were actual triplets, by the way - who did the night club circuit and appeared on "The Bob Hope Show" a few times. After which they semi-retired. They might have been forgotten, but a funny thing happened thirty years later. They were "re-discovered" by a whole new generation in the 1980s and achieved even greater fame. Scooby-wha?
The gals achieved their newfound acclaim by wearing the exact same costumes they wore in their younger days and by singing songs like "Whip It!" by Devo as 1940s acoustic swing. I remember finding them so endearing, because they weren't just a camp curio, but genuinely skilled and entertaining performers who knew exactly what they were doing and how best to serve it up. If you haven't heard them before, they're a delightful treat and perfect for summer poolside gatherings. Plus, they don't just do "Whip It," they also do the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction." "Chain Of Fools," and my personal favorite, "Chica Chica Boom Chic."
The Secret Song File j'adores puzzles and word games, because what else is there to do while you're waiting for your private jet to refuel before whisking you off to Martinique? Of course, if you're with a companion, you can play Sounds Like. Let's play now. This fantastic new CD is by a certain British electro alterna group. Follow me so far? And the group has a two word name which sounds like...are you ready?
They sound like...Squat Dip. No? Still not sure? Okay, try this. They sound like...Snot Drip. Still confused? Alright, alright, but this is your final clue, so pay attention. They sound like...Yacht Strip. OMFG, really? You still don't know? Sheesh. Okay, okay, then lets just flat-out give it away and say that they're, like, rully-rully hawt - *cough*cough* - and a chip - *cough*cough* - off someone-or-others shoulder. And if you don't get it by now, then sorry, but there's no more room on the plane for you. Martinique? Ha! You're
Just remember, wear a bathing suit that hides your FUPA!
And, please, splash about in the comments, if you like.