Download “I’d like to get you on a slow boat to China” was a well-known phrase among poker players, referring to a person who has lost steadily and mightily. But Frank Loesser, the composer of this wonderful piece, turned that phrase into a romantic song, placing the title in the mainstream of catch-phrases in 1947.
It’s been recorded every way imaginable by almost everybody: Rosemary Clooney and Bing Crosby did it way too fast – Liza Minnelli thought it should be so slow the orchestra went to sleep – Bette Midler’s version? Too bouncy and cute – Renee Olstead had a nice jazzy arrangement but please leave out the obnoxious backup vocals, Renee – Jimmy Buffett gave it a shot and it was just right…. but then I’m a little prejudiced.
Imagine you’re at the helm of your 40-foot Hatteras and heading out of New Orleans for a leisurely coastline cruise (imagination is a wonderful thing, isn’t it?). You’re humming a parody under your breath: “I’d like to get you – on a slow boat to Destin”. This arrangement is how I would feel the song as I slip by Biloxi – happy, carefree and unfettered by those pesky backup singers. Life is good.