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4 Reviews
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A thing of beauty, 21 Dec 2005
By 
Penguin Egg (London, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Black Balloon (Audio CD)
Although The Hermit is a close contender, I would claim this to be Renbourn's finest album, and this from a man who has a respectable body of work behind him. This is an instrumental album displaying the virtuosity of Renbourn's guitar playing. The dazzling display of fingerwork shown on all these tracks would impress a Segovia or a Bream, with whom, to these ears at least, I would not hesitate to place him. The first three tracks of stately baroque pieces played without accompaniment. The final two tracks are composed by Renbourn and have a lovely accompaniment by a flutist and, through the use of double tracking, Renbourn on electric guitar. In case you think the use of an electric guitar clashes with the acoustic purity displayed elsewhere, the playing is so masterly that he manages to make it sound like the most natural thing on earth.
The Black Balloon is a thing of beauty from the opening note to the last. For fans of the acoustic guitar, I recommend it whole-heartedly.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and beautiful, 27 Mar 2008
This review is from: The Black Balloon (Audio CD)
A worthy contendor for his finest hour, flawless playing, and inspired compositions, conveying as usual the wonderful sense of Old England, the sort of music that should be played behind a mediaeval mime troop acting out fairy tales. Only "Nine Maidens" and "Lady and the Unicorn" compare.

The title track in particular is outstanding, an epic of guitars and flute.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Black Balloon: John Renbourn: A stately English dance, 13 Sep 2013
By 
Victor (Hull, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Black Balloon (Audio CD)
First released in 1979, this is the tenth solo album from guitar maestro John Renbourn. It was a particularly artistically successful period of his career, this highly acclaimed album coming hot on the heels of his other fan favourite, the Hermit.

It’s a simple instrumental album in which Renbourn gives full reign to his baroque leanings. In the first three tracks he plays solo on guitar, dazzling with his mastery. The music is a complex whirlpool of melodies gushing forth from his guitar. On the last two tracks he is accompanied by a flute and electric guitar, which serves to add more colour to the album and does not detract from the wonderful music.

Highly recommended for all those who enjoy virtuoso musicianship, finely crafted tunes and thoughtful music into which the artist has poured his soul. It’s five stars from me.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just as many people say, this is one of John's best, 17 May 2013
By 
Mr. K. Hubbard "kevinatkhco" (Glastonbury) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Black Balloon (Audio CD)
There's only one downside for me with this album, in comon with many other of Renbourn's albums: the balance between guitar and flute tends to favour the flute, so that John's guitar often sits far too quietly in the background while the flute dominates the show ... and although the flautist is good, he too often succeeds in drowning out the delicate intricacies of John's guitar playing. Other than that gripe, this is a very good album, with the long Black Balloon track a stand-out piece of craftsmanship ... a piece of rare beauty and subtlety.
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The Black Balloon
The Black Balloon by John Renbourn (Audio CD - 2008)
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