Kevin Gilbert, “Kashmir” from Thud (1995): One Track Mind

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In January, a 20th anniversary deluxe version of Kevin Gilbert’s Thud was released. In February, a 40th anniversary deluxe version of Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti was released.

The former is the stunning first (and last) main solo album by a little-known California prog-pop composer, multi-instrumentalist, singer and producer. The latter is the stunning hard rock opus by an English group who’s fairly well-known. And never shall the two albums meet…with one notable exception.

When Kevin Gilbert originally issued Thud back in 1995, some of the CDs sold then came with an EP attached, containing four alternate versions of originals on the primary disc plus one cover, Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir.” Appropriately, they’re all part of the new Thud 3-CD extravaganza, too.

There are probably other versions of Zeppelin’s Moroccan-tinged, rumbling epic that I’m not aware of, but it’s hard to imagine they’re as imaginatively done as Gilbert’s. Gilbert didn’t attempt to take on the song in the manner of the original but he also didn’t peel away its exotic, third world soul, either. For the first 100 seconds, the energy is tamped down to a placid raga, and KG’s delivers Robert Plant’s mystic lyrics with a soothing temperament, jumping into that confounded bridge much earlier than originally prescribed. About a minute and a half in, this peacefulness is obliterated when the drums come crashing in, and with it another surprise: it gallops at a faster pace than John Bonham’s thunderous shuffle. Kevin Gilbert’s voice transforms from nearly docile to out-and-out rage, easily outmuscling Plant for the sheer intensity.

The performance clocks in at only about half the time that it did twenty years earlier, but all the main touchpoints of the song are revisited, with the sharp, fresh perspective of a musician who might have had a Physical Graffiti or two of his own. Had he lived to do it, that is.

*** Purchase Kevin Gilbert’s Thud: 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition here ***

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron

S. Victor Aaron is an SQL demon for a Fortune 100 company by day, music opinion-maker at night. His musings are strewn out across the interwebs on jazz.com, AllAboutJazz.com, a football discussion board and some inchoate customer reviews of records from the late 1990s on Amazon under a pseudonym that will never be revealed. E-mail him at svaaron@somethingelsereviews .com or follow him on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SVictorAaron
S. Victor Aaron
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  • perplexio

    Love this version of Kashmir. Gilbert totally nailed it. There’s an anger and a pain in his vocal delivery that I find far more intense than that of Plant’s original vocal delivery of the song.

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