Various Artists

How to Strip for Your Husband

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In an era when women can take pole dancing lessons at the local fitness center and many couples feel inclined to post nude photos of themselves on the internet for anyone to stumble across, the album How to Strip for Your Husband: Music to Make Marriage Merrier (not for your boyfriend -- heaven forbid!) seems more than a bit quaint, but it's worth noting the LP was riding a wave of nostalgia even as it was being released in 1962. Thanks to the success of Playboy Magazine and movies like Russ Meyer's The Immoral Mr. Teas, burlesque houses were becoming a thing of the past in the late '50s, and in the early '60s, the Broadway musical Gypsy and Ann Corio's revue This Was Burlesque sparked a new interest in the old art of striptease, particularly among women who wouldn't be caught dead in a real strip joint. Ann Corio attached her name to How to Strip for Your Husband, but her contribution was limited to liner notes that offered advice to housewives hoping to impress their mates; Sonny Lester was the musical mind behind the project, conducting the orchestra, creating the arrangements, and writing or co-writing ten of the twelve numbers. Lester's music paints with a broad brush, and the booming drums, squealing clarinets, and sliding trombones all play to the clich├ęs of bump-and-grind striptease music, but at the same time, this music approaches its themes with a sense of fun and there's a full-bodied brio to the recordings that more than suits its intended purpose. As a listening experience, How to Strip For Your Husband is a matter of taste and mood, but it certainly delivers what it promises and them some, and if you can find a copy with Corio's original booklet enclosed, you'll find some very entertaining advice from a woman who knew a thing or two about attracting a man's attention.