Out of print in the U.S.! The Raw & The Cooked was the 1989 sophomore album from this talented UK trio featuring vocalist Roland Gift and two former members of The (English) Beat: Dave Cox and David Steele. Their self-titled album, released four years earlier, had performed well in the charts but The Raw & The Cooked became a worldwide smash with hits like 'She Drives Me Crazy', 'Good Thing' and their cover of Buzzcocks' hit 'Ever Fallen In Love'. After a remix album in 1990, FYC drifted off the radar and have yet to follow up this grand album with a third effort. Warner.
With The Raw & the Cooked
, the Fine Young Cannibals broke into the mainstream with their particular soul-injected sound. They were seemingly infatuated with late-'50s and early-'60s Motown, and the musical influences on this album range from boogie ("Good Thing," on which Squeeze keyboardist Jools Holland goes to town with a foot-stompin' piano solo) to poodle-skirted slow dance ("As Hard As It Is," "Tell Me What"), then stretch as far as Prince-like funk ("Don't Let It Get You Down"). Possessing one of the most unusual voices in all of pop music, lead singer Roland Gift gives this album its distinction and the Fine Young Cannibals their identity. About half the songs (including the hit "She Drives Me Crazy") are graced with Gift's steady, crystal-clear falsetto, but it's his swollen-throated lower register, where he sounds like he is singing through a trumpeter's plunger mute, that really makes his voice unmistakable. --Beth Bessmer