Slow Boat to China

thhhr00kmg  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.

[Jazz/Swing List]


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