Fire – Third Eye
The late 60s and early 70s in South Africa saw the emergence of heavy rock acts like Freedom’s Children, Hawk and the Otis Waygood Blues Band. To this list one can also add Durban based band Third Eye (sometime spelt Thyrd Eye) who crashed onto the scene in 1968 or 1969 (depending on which source you use) with a blistering and wailing thunderball of a cover of The Crazy World of Arthur Brown’s ‘Fire’.
From the first cry of ‘I am the son of hellfire’ (I guess they had to change the ‘god of hellfire’ to the ‘son of hellfire’ to avoid a ban from the ultra conservative at that time SABC), the song is racing against the flames that the song is about with Dawn Selby’s Hammond organ swirling like a whirling dervish dancer on fast forward. Maurice Saul’s vocals cry out from this vortex at first with ominous rock sensibilities but as the song gets more frenetic it slowly morphs into a screeching banshee as he starts to wail as one burning up.
The song, produced by Billy Forrest, would get to 16 on the LM Radio charts and it certainly holds it own when placed next to the Arthur Brown original. It has that same intensity of heat and burns just as bright. We certainly knew how to rock back then, whether producing original material or covering some of the classics of the day and Third Eye were spot on with this cover. Maybe its because we South Africans are so good at braai-ing that The Third Eye could so easily (so it seems) knock off a great cover of ‘Fire’. As Neil Young says, it’s better to burn out than to fade away.
Where to find it:
Astral Daze – Various Artists, RetroFresh, (2005), FRESHCD148