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Jeff Beck

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Jeff Beck Who Else ! album cover
3.37 | 78 ratings | 10 reviews | 10% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1999

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. What Mama Said (3:23)
2. Psycho-Sam (4:55)
3. Brush With The Blues (6:24)
4. Blast From The East (4:46)
5. Space For The Papa 7:41)
6. Angel (Footsteps) (6:30)
7. THX138 (6:15)
8. Hip-Notica (4:40)
9. Even Odds (3:29)
10. Declan (4:02)
11. Another Place (1:48)

Total Time 53:53

Line-up / Musicians

- Jeff Beck / guitars, arrangements & co-producer

- Jennifer Batten / electric & Midi guitars
- Tony Hymas / keyboards, noises, arrangements & co-producer
- Randy Hope-Taylor / bass
- Steve Alexander / drums
- Pino Palladino / bass (2)
- Manu Katché / drums & percussion (2)
- Jan Hammer / keyboards & drums (9)
- Mark John / acoustic guitar (10)
- Simon Wallace / synthesizer (10)
- Bob Loveday / violin (10)
- Clive Bell / flute (10)

Releases information

CD Epic ‎- 493041 2 (1999, Europe)
CD Epic ‎- 493041 2 (2010, Europe)

Thanks to Slartibartfast for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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JEFF BECK Who Else ! ratings distribution

(78 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(10%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(47%)
Good, but non-essential (32%)
Collectors/fans only (6%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

JEFF BECK Who Else ! reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars I found this album to be mostly a bit on the boring side. Taking into account of course Jeff Beck's incredible ability as a musician and not getting complacent about how good he really is. This album seems to fall short compared to Blow By Blow or You Had It Coming. Instrumental as per most of his material check out highlights like ' Psycho- Sam', ' Space For The Papa' or the excellent ' Even Odds'. Rumour has it that Beck is so eccentric now that all his guitars are ordered to spec and in tune. If he is not happy with the sound he discards the guitar and opens up a new one. Not sure how qualified that rumour is but the eccentricies really stand out on Who Else and I would have to recommend this album for collectors only. Guitar enthusiasts will no doubt give this a four or five star rating but I have heard better from Jeff Beck.
Review by bhikkhu
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars It had been ten years since a proper Jeff Beck studio release. "Guitar Shop" had been very satisfying, but not exactly a revelation. I imagine Jeff sitting around, and thinking about the stagnation of rock at the turn of the century. So, he decides to come out of hibernation and show them how it's done. And show them he did. Who knew that one of the old maters could bust out with something so fresh, full of life, and damn good.

The opener, "What Mama Said," lets you know what's up right from the start. Jeff has integrated electronica without losing any guitar hero credibility. It's a jam you can't sit still for, and the Dick Shawn sample from "It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World" is priceless.

"Psycho Sam" doesn't let you off the hook. It's another rousing maelstrom of guitar and electronics.

On "Brush With the Blues" he shows that he hasn't left his blues chops behind. It's a live track, which is good. The blues always seems to translate better before an audience.

"Blast from the East" has him integrating Middle Eastern sounds. Once again, jamming it in top form.

"Space for the Papa" is a groovy venture into modern space rock. A slower jam, but don't be surprised if it gets your foot tapping.

"Angel (Footsteps)" softens things up, but still retains a bit of the spacey quality of the previous track. There are also hints of the old jazz fusion in this one.

"THX 138" is what I would best describe as a bit of a techno-guitar freak out.

"Hip Notica" lives up to its title. A cool slow jam, with a touch of darkness, that keeps you mesmerized all the way.

"Even Odds" is a modernized old time rocker at face value. However, there is much more to it. Dare I say, it even gets quite proggy.

"Declan" is a beautiful Celtic inspired piece (did I hear Prog-Folk?). Listen to his playing on this one, and you will know why he doesn't need a vocalist.

For the closer, he chose to delve into classical territory. "Another place" sounds almost Steve Hackett inspired, yet it is Jeff all the way.

This is one heck of a comeback for a legendary artist. It rivals some of his previous best work. He also pulled off what is nearly impossible for most of his contemporaries. He sounds completely fresh without losing his signature sound. His connection to prog was previously because of his jazz-fusion, and his influential playing. Now he is delving into RIO/Avant territory. It may not be full on prog, but any prog fan should be able to enjoy it.

H.T. Riekels

Review by WaywardSon
2 stars It would be very difficult for me to recommend this album to anyone, unless one likes trance/techno experimental type guitar music.

There are a few good songs, "A brush with the blues" is a live track and Beck really does have a nice tone on this blues number. He plays with a lot of feeling which is really great. I would say that this is the best song on the album. "Declan" also stands out as one of the better songs and has a nice celtic feel to it.

But all in all this is a bad introduction for anyone who is interested in discovering the music of Jeff Beck. For hardcore Beck fans only!

Review by Chicapah
4 stars After making belated but impressive amends at the tail end of the 80s for the misguided mess that was "Flash" with the energized "Guitar Shop," Jeff Beck took a break. Unbeknownst to me and his fans, our idea of a little time off and his were sun orbits apart because it turned out to be a decade before he'd get around to offering up a new album of original tunes. He didn't retreat into full-blown hibernation, exactly, for he conjured up some incidental music for an Australian TV miniseries ("Frankie's House" in '92) and took a starring role in an homage to Gene Vincent ("Crazy Legs" in '93) to indicate he was still breathing but after that came nada, making us wonder if he'd tragically lost his mojo. Perhaps the truth is he was merely content to enjoy the fruits of his labor and spend his mid-life years freely indulging in his antique car obsession whilst traipsing about his expansive English manor. If so, who'll hurl the first stone? Finally, in March of '99, he released his long-awaited "Who Else!" disc and reassured us without a doubt that he'd kept his arsenal of guitars near the couch so his magic touch on the fretboard wouldn't suffer from neglect. Beck-ola was alive and in good health, a relief to millions.

While the album is a bit too techno at times for my liking, in retrospect that aspect is more a side effect of the prevailing production trends that ruled at the end of the 20th century than a matter of JB trying to be "hip." The proof is in the pudding, as they say, and quality material can grant forgiveness for a multitude of minor sins. Unlike "Guitar Shop" where he'd put together a solidified trio with Terry Bozzio and Tony Hymas, this project was much more a solo endeavor. He brought in some talented close buddies like Jan Hammer, Hymas and the great Manu Katche to contribute alongside bassist Pino Palladino (sounds like a variety of wine, no?), drummer Steve Alexander and synth expert Simon Wallace so it's obvious that he intended to make some serious yet joyful noises this time around. The overall impression I get is that, in light of his stellar track record, he knew he had absolutely nothing to prove or lose. Therefore Jeff was concentrating on just being himself. He couldn't have chosen a better path to tread.

Jeff opens things up with what would eventually be a Grammy-nominated instrumental, "What Mama Said." The track's ferocious beginning is as hard-driving as I've ever heard him, making it immediately apparent that he hadn't lost his penchant for taking a walk on the wild side during his ten-year sabbatical. The song's ascending wall of noise is very Sgt. Pepper-ish in an honorable sort of way but the highlight of the tune comes when Beck vamps insanely over locomotive drums. With "Psycho Sam" the hard-as-granite rock mentality continues but with a more cohesive melody line to focus on. He throws in an intriguing bridge containing a slight Indian vibe but so much for mellowing with age, folks. Jeff attacks this song ruthlessly with his razor-sharp axe and shreds it to kindling right before your very ears. A live cut, "Brush With The Blues," follows and it provides a much-needed respite from the onslaught of his fury. The tune's title is correct in that it has a bluesy aura yet it's far from being chained to the traditional and often tired 12-bar variety. To the delight of the crowd, Beck fills holes imaginatively and listening to him perform is one "How'd he do that?" moment after another. A bold undercarriage sticks "Blast from the East" right in your face and the odd time signature the players kick around readily distinguishes it from what's occurred previously. Let's just say that Jeff blazes through this number like a raging river of fire and nothing is left unscathed.

"Space For the Papa" opens with a spacey, cosmic introduction that sets the table for some tasty, deep-fried funk. The tune reveals itself to be an empty white canvas for Beck to throw buckets of bright neon guitar riffs upon, creating a fine piece of modernistic aural art. The gifted Tony Hymas wrote the next song, "Angel (Footsteps)," wherein a light, inoffensive hip-hop rhythm lays down a soft foundation to support this ethereal number so that Jeff gets to show off his genius for manipulating the upper registers of his instrument. Tony's dense layers of keyboards produce a glowing backdrop for him that's warm and highly hypnotic. On "THX 138" a busy but invigorating pulse dominates the proceedings. Beck's guitar-generated howls and screams bring to mind some kind of mad scientist's mechanical pterodactyl gone haywire, terrorizing a once-sleepy hillside village without mercy. The interesting 7/8 beat pattern that propels "Hip-Notica" promises great things and the energetic song doesn't disappoint. The Hammond B3 (or its artificial equivalent. I can't tell anymore.) organ sound gives it a sultry air and kudos to Jeff for admirably restraining himself from injecting too much riffing into the tune's cool aura. A heavy rock stomp drenches "Even Odds" with a menacing varnish but the arrangement also takes you off into some adventurous detours that keep it from turning into a predictable dirge. Beck's delicate treatment of a traditional folk song, "Declan," follows and it's a treat. A dreamy mist drapes the beautiful melody with an appropriate Irish personality that benefits from spirit-lifting pipes and Jeff's fuzzy sustain comes off not unlike the emotional voice of a violin. The album's finale is "Another Place," and it's all Beck. His short but breathtaking performance can soothe the worst of savage beasts and one is struck by his unyielding command of the instrument he's mastered as completely as anyone ever has.

While this disc's frequent use of electronic drums kept it from attaining masterpiece status I still heartily endorse it as a must-have but I'm not finished just yet. Realizing I get perilously close to gushing in the following statement, I'll venture on without regard to or fear of the reader's potential disdain: Jeff Beck is an icon of my generation that has risen above definition. He's a virtuoso that can shred with the best of 'em but he's not just a shredder. He's a technician of the highest caliber but he's much more than just a scale-running automaton. If anything he's a risk-taking, no-holds-barred, courageous explorer of uncharted fusion territory who simultaneously possesses the passionate heart of a seasoned Delta bluesman that guides his soul. I daresay that we're all in the presence of one of the most influential guitarists that ever strolled upon terra firma and those of you who have yet to check out his amazing body of work (least of all this excellent record) are really missing out. "Who Else!" indeed.

Review by Neu!mann
4 stars The very modern sound of this (yet again) overdue album probably surprised a lot of fans, but really it shouldn't have. The change in musical direction (actually, more an update) had already been suggested a decade earlier in the bright digital gleam of "Jeff Beck's Guitar Shop", with its extended arsenal of guitar effects and the pile-driver fills of drummer Terry Bozzio.

On that album it was all merely part of the typically '80s overkill sound mix. Whereas here, at the end of the 20th century, Beck was actually challenging himself (and his followers) to look ahead, blending his well-worn Blues Rock instincts with emerging trends in techno and electronica. Needless to say, it was a wide departure from his highly regarded Jazz Rock fusions of the 1970s ("Blow By Blow", "Wired"). But as he would prove in subsequent albums Beck wasn't a musical tourist on a ten-day package holiday in unfamiliar territory; he was committed to learning the language and customs of this Brave New World, and then becoming its master.

The new album wasn't some sort of evolutionary mutation, either. Because much of techno is so coldly automated, adding the organic flame of Beck's guitar really brings it to life. That much ought to be clear from the first salvo of the album opener "What Mama Said", with its dynamic mile-a-minute electronic percussion and sampled voice interjections (I didn't recognize the Dick Shawn quote until reading about it elsewhere on these pages).

That immediate declaration of intent is followed by the industrial dance beat of "Psycho-Sam", and later refined in the trance-like mantras of the aptly-titled "Hip-Notica" and "THX138", the latter named after the 1971 George Lucas sci-fi movie (but missing a digit, perhaps to avoid any issue of royalties **). Along the way there's an unexpected throwback ("Brush with the Blues"), featuring some of Beck's purest-ever guitar wizardry over a simmering, slow-burn rock rhythm. This one track, one of the highlights of the album, was recorded live in concert: so where's the tape for the rest of the gig? And hold your breath for the swaggering "Space for the Papa", a jaw-dropping back-of-the-bayou rifferama swamp monster transported to the 21st century, maybe the best expression yet of Beck's guitar machismo.

By the time the last, lush chords of "Another Place" have faded to silence the listener will have been given an excellent introduction to the once-and-future Jeff Beck, with a tacit invitation toward further exploration (for me, it led to the guitarist's back catalogue of classics).

...a final note: before jotting down these comments I took the liberty of correcting the Progarchives database, replacing an erroneous question mark in the album title with the more authoritative (and accurate) exclamation. A small edit, but an important one: Beck wasn't asking us who else might be playing these high-tech vamps; he was telling us, and emphatically!

[ ** a belated postscript: after revisiting the movie "American Graffiti" I noticed that THX138 was actually the license plate number on Paul Le Mat's hot rod, a nod by director George Lucas to his earlier film. So the the tune was really another quintessential Beck homage to early '60s car culture. ]

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Released in 1999, "Who Else!" was Jeff Beck's first major release in 10 years and you can really tell that a lot had changed! Gone are the jazz fusion blows of yore and the synth big band sound of "Guitar Shop", here is Jeff Beck ready for a new century.

The album introduces a completely new style for Beck, a fusion of rock instrumentation and technique with the structure, style and production of techno and electronica music. As a result of the drastic stylistic differences, the album sounds quite fresh but unfortunately it play out quite as well as his 70's and 80's output. The album's first 4 songs are very strong, with styles ranging from electronica rock to blues to Eastern world fusion but the second half of the album slows down to longer, slower trance-style pieces like "Space For The Papa" and "Hip-Notica". Of these trance instrumentals, "Angel (Footsteps)" is probably the most interesting but really they're all a little insipid. The album rounds itself out with two more ballad-like pieces, the oriental "Declan" and the spacey "Another Place".

"Who Else!" was a very experimental album for Jeff Beck and, while having its good moments, is one that would be refined a little more with his next release, "You Had It Coming"; good but non-essential.

Review by siLLy puPPy
3 stars WHO ELSE! saw the return of JEFF BECK releasing a full album's worth of new material for the first time in a decade following 1989's "Jeff Beck's Guitar Shop but that doesn't mean he didn't just hang around his huge collection of hot rod sports cars, au contraire. BECK took on a series of collaborations starting with Jon Bon Jovi by playing the main solo of the song "Blaze of Glory" in 1990 and then moved on Hans Zimmer's score for the film "Days Of Thunder." Next in line was a cameo appearance as lead guitarist on Roger Waters' 1992 concept album "Amused To Death" as well as a bizarre soundtrack with Jed Lieber for the Australian TV series "Frankie's House." Add some cameo appearances with Kate Bush and Beverley Craven as well as a tribute album to Gene Vincent and His Blue Caps and then you'll start to wonder how BECK had time to come up with any original material!

Never one to rest in his past glories, by the time the 20th century was closing and a new millennium was at hand JEFF BECK had long ago forsaken his title as jazz-fusion guitar god and taken on a new role of the late 20th century as cross-pollinating blues specialist as BECK was taking the blues rock paradigm into some bizarre new territory when many artists in the rock and metal world had abandoned the blues aspects of their origins decades prior. WHO ELSE! is yet another bizarre hybridization of BECK's signature blues rock guitar style commingling with other seemingly incompatible musical genres. In this case electronic music, techno, breakbeat and industrial.

By the close of the decade / century / millennium BECK had indeed jumped into the bizarre world of guitar-based electronica and WHO ELSE! emerged in March 1999. Unlike the mere trio of "Jeff Beck's Guitar Shop," this one featured a total of 11 extra musicians including long time associate Tony Hymas on keys and guitarist Jennifer Batten who at the time was virtually unknown went on to play live with Michael Jackson on several world tours. WHO ELSE! was also one of BECK's longer albums as he (or the record company) preferred to keep the playing time around 40 minutes. This one is just shy of 54. Once again this is an all instrumental album and features 11 tracks. The opening "What Mama Said" starts things off with a bang and is probably the best track on board with a thundering techno production backing with industrial guitar riffs churning about. Clearly BECK was ready for the brave new world lurking behind the odometer of time.

The second track "Psycho Sam" is equally compelling as it feels like BECK has transcended into a cyber-guitarist with a metallic edge that sounds more Nine Inch Nails than anything BECK had cranked out in the past. With heavy techno grooves and a futuristic feel BECK adapts his bluesy guitar licks to alien territory but pulls it off without flinching. The track also offers some tasty Middle Eastern musical flavors and some excellent guitar soloing. Beginning with "Brush With The Blues" which is a live recording, the album takes on slower more traditional blues playing albeit with an electronica fueled ambient backdrop. The track "THX138" named after the George Lucas film sounds like something out of The Matrix movie with a heavy Prodigy type breakbeat sound with a subdued guitar playing that throws in random licks.

Overall this is an interesting album as BECK flawlessly adapts his blues rock guitar playing to a seemingly foreign musical style. Somehow the techno, electronica and blues play together like content children on a baseball field. The only problem is that the album is too long and a few tracks that really just retread already established territory outstay their welcome. By the time i you get to "Even Odds" for example it just seems like filler. There are also a few tracks like "Declan" that seem out of place. This one for example eschews the entire electronica shtick and dives into orchestrated Celtic folk music. Whaaaaat? This is an interesting album that shouldn't be missed but i wish the entire album followed what was laid down by the first half. Oh well another JEFF BECK curve ball nobody saw coming with this one!

3.5 rounded down

Latest members reviews

4 stars JJeff seemed to become a far more advanced player the older he got hiring MI teacher and Micheal Jackson touring guitarist Jennifer Batten for this album and tour. In my opinion, it was a good move. It's been 10 years since his last album, and many things have changed, the music itself the most. ... (read more)

Report this review (#2986808) | Posted by EnForce24 | Monday, January 29, 2024 | Review Permanlink

4 stars D'yo hear what Mama said? Six long years after he released his tribute to Gene Vincent and Cliff Gallup, and ten even longer years since he released what many including myself consider a proper album, Jeff Beck decided to leave the auto shop and go back into the guitar shop. With him, he br ... (read more)

Report this review (#827042) | Posted by Progosopher | Sunday, September 23, 2012 | Review Permanlink

4 stars My dad's friend lent me this disc a couple years ago, and I gave it a spin. The first time I went through it, I thought what is this techno garbage?. After that, I put it on the shelf for a while. Fortunatley, just recently I decided to take it down from that shelf, and listen to it with an open ... (read more)

Report this review (#159982) | Posted by OzzProg | Sunday, January 27, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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