This is another 45 that cannot be ignored when surveying the classics of 60s garage and psychedelia. It was a bona fide hit in its day, reaching number 37 in the Billboard charts in February 1968.
The Balloon Farm were from New York City and took their name from a nightclub. Two of the band had previously been in Adam, who were responsible for the single ‘Eve / Where Has My Little Girl Gone’ on Mala in December 1966. The a-side is a moody punkadelic pounder punctuated by primitive ‘Eight Miles High’ style raga-rock guitar.
‘A Question of Temperature’ was The Balloon Farm’s debut and was released on Laurie Records in September 1967, initially with the song title misspelled as ‘A Question of Tempature’. From the moment the naggingly catchy fuzz riff starts up, accompanied by that strange scratching sound, we know we know we are safe hands. The singer puts in a great performance and the backing vocals on the chorus are effective. The guitar on the break is very distinctive, achieved I think by fading in the notes with the volume control rather than being a backwards recording.
‘A Question of Temperature’
Flip ‘Hurtin’ for Your Love’ isn’t as good as the a-side but shouldn’t be written off just because it can’t reach those stellar standards – it is a stomping punker with an understated keyboard break.
‘Hurtin’ for Your Love’
The 45 was also issued in neat picture sleeves in France and Germany – the German Ariola issue is shown below.
Opinion is divided, but I like follow-up ‘Hurry Up Sundown’ though it is a very different beast to ‘A Question of Temperature’, being a laid-back pop psycher with acoustic guitars and brass accompaniment (which works quite well I think).
The band later changed name to Huck Finn for the single ‘Two of a Kind / We’ll Catch The Sun’ on Kapp (November 1968). The a-side is jaunty fuzzed up pop-psych, the flip more in a harmony pop style but juxtaposed with neat Kinks-like garage on the break and outro.
Band member Mike Appel went on to be the producer of Bruce Springsteen’s early albums, as well as also being involved in producing, arranging and writing lyrics for Brooklyn heavy rockers Sir Lord Baltimore on their 1970 Kingdom Come debut album.
Reissues: the a-side has appeared on many compilations – for example Ah Feel Like Ahcid, Acid Dreams Testament, and the Nuggets box set; the flip is on Turds on a Bum Ride Volume 6.
- A Question of Temperature / Hurtin’ for Your Love (Laurie, 1967)
- Hurry Up Sundown / Farmer Brown (Laurie, 1968)