The Black Balloon
Transatlantic TRA355 (1979)

Album available as:-
(Shanachie SHCD97009)

Other Releases:-
(Shanachie Records CD 97009. Tab booklet included)

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A collection of ayres, danceries, a pastoral fantasia, and an abstract fantasia.

- Chip Renner (AMG)




Track Listing

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1. The Moon Shines Bright (3:54)
A traditional carol. After establishing the theme in sedate quarter notes it launches into a set of variations in a typical Elizabethan manner, moving into progressively more animated figurations in slightly altered harmony.

2. The English Dance (2:49)
A sprightly 13th century dance tune, probably played on the fiddle originally.

3. Bourrée I And II (2:19)
Two dance tunes from Nicolas Valet's book 'Le Secret Des Muses' of 1616. Both employ virtually the same melodic material, the contrasting moods arising from the tonal settings, minor in the first and major in the second.

4. Medley: The Mist Covered Mountains Of Home (9:26)
An Irish air - John's superb guitar setting later becomes a sort of continuo for a set of light variations by flute and electric guitar (Alan Stivell also plays this air - LK) The Orphan /Tarboulton - two Irish dance tunes. The first is a jig notable for the intriguing dips and turns in its rather angular melodic lines, while the reel that follows it has quite different soaring melodic curves.

5. The Pelican (7:02)
The less abstract of the two 'inventions', this very song-like tune is beautifully proportioned and flows along smoothly in a way very reminiscent of the Pentangle's folk-jazz fusions, and when the electric guitar enters with a further heterophonic voice, of the pieces on 'Bert & John'. The body of the piece explores a series of intricately florid variations representing the folk-baroque style at its best.

6. The Black Balloon (11:38)
In this brilliant extended piece, the variations gradually depart more and more from the starting point, led first by the guitar and then by the flute, through a patchwork of textures which at their farthest point from home change almost completely to jazz and then to rhythm 'n' blues. Here though, we can keep our bearings through the brief echoes of the original theme, which John injects into the guitar part. This rather breathtaking musical adventure requires careful listening to appreciate its full depth.


John Renbourn - Guitar
Tony Roberts - Flute
Stuart Gordon - Tabors


Artist Gig Guide

Click on the links below to see an accurate gig guide of the following artists.

Davey Graham

Bert Jansch

John Renbourn

Roy Harper

John Martyn


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