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28 Apr

Rainbow’s End

By  Robert Walton
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(Leon Pober)
Lou Busch’s version analysed by Robert Walton

The hit parade has never exactly been littered with light orchestral pieces, but from time to time one appeared amongst a sea of vocal numbers. The most original and imitated in the 20th century was David Rose’s Holiday for Strings, his first disc to sell a million. Mantovani’s Charmaine, Leroy Anderson’s Syncopated Clock and Frank Chacksfield’s Limelight were three others to make the charts. Sometimes though, the B sides of million sellers deserved to be heard too.

One such title turned up on the radio in the mid-50s when I was doing three months Compulsory Military Training in New Zealand. It was Rainbow’s End on the back of Lou Busch’s Zambesi and stood out as a relaxed waltz of quality in an era when rock ‘n roll was threatening to take over. I must admit I had completely forgotten its name, let alone the melody. Consequently it took a bit of time to track down.

It has an unusually long introduction and for a generally quiet arrangement the record begins with a startling blast like a wind storm, gradually becoming softer. The listener is hypnotized into a kind of dream world. A trilling flute gently welcomes us to this tender string tune. After a while woodwind and an ascending Les Baxter-type humming chorus join the orchestra. When the strings, piano and singers really get going one wonders why Rainbow’s End didn’t become better known. In fact it’s not unlike a Henry Mancini melody. Later the arrangement creates a joyous atmosphere with a distinct bell-like effect. Then the brass contributes to a key change.

An accordion leads the way with brass, orchestra and more bells. Suddenly we find ourselves in a hauntingly peaceful coda with the strings high on harmonics. A flutter of flutes, muted brass, sustained strings and a glorious harp glissando gives a solo flute the final fling.

In conclusion, a few words about composer Pober (born 1920 Massachusets died 1971 Los Angeles). Four of his best known songs are Sweet Treat, Tangi Tahiti (The Call of Tahiti ), Tiny Bubbles and Pearly Shells. Artists who have recorded Leon Pober’s songs include, Burl Ives, Don Ho, Billy Vaughn and Dean Martin. In 1960 Pober wrote the musical Beg, Borrow or Steal with jazz tenor sax player Bud Freeman. Also they composed Zen is When for the Dave Brubeck Quartet. Did you realize “rebop” is Pober spelt backwards?

Can be heard on

The Golden Age of Light Music “Light and Lively” Guild Records (GLCD 5160)

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