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
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I keep my old CDs so I can remember this stuff
Bruce P. Barten | Saint Paul, MN United States | 02/09/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The CD liner notes have an interesting series of symbols following the names of each song, then a symbol that looks like a car for all tracks. After a page with a picture, there are four pages of names and symbols. Then there are two pages of pictures, followed by three pages explaining what each symbol represents. The first one I figured out was that Jools Holland plays a piano solo. The other symbol after his name indicates that the piano solo is for the song `Good Thing.' Now I can watch the CONCERT FOR GEORGE DVD again and figure that the guy playing piano for the song `Horse to the Water' is Jools, so the person singing must be Sam Brown. When there are so many people on stage at the same time, it can take me years to figure out where I have heard any of these people before. Roland Gift does the singing on all tracks for `The Raw & The Cooked' CD from Fine Young Cannibals. David Steele and Roland Gift wrote most of the songs, except the final song, `Ever Fallen in Love' by Peter Shelley, and `It's OK (It's Alright)' by David Steele-Roland Gift-Andrew Cox.
The symbol for `She Drives Me Crazy' might be a man hitting himself in the head with a book. "Everything I do is wrong" summarizes the obsessed man who can't help himself. The same symbol follows the name of David Z after four other symbols. He gets a credit for co-production and engineer for a total of three songs. Steele/Cox/Gift get credit for production on seven other songs, but the symbols are not in the same order as the list of the ten songs on the album. Gavin Wright gets credit for strings and Dave Anderson for remix on `As Hard as it Is.' Music is a complicated business for groups that get to be this good, and somebody has to keep track of who does what. I probably never noticed before. If I didn't have my own computer now, I might not even be interested in what an icon is for. Live and learn."
ROLAND is a GIFT STUNNING VOCALS--SIX STARS OUTTA FIVE *****
MTNWESTMAN4MEN | LARAMIE PEAK | 09/07/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"ROLAND GIFT'S VOICE PROMTED ME TO BUY ANYTHING HE HAS DONE AND THE PAST FYC CDS....OF NOTE IS "AS HARD AS IT IS" AND MY LTR TO THE EDITOR FOR THE FOLKS IN THE BIG EASY 9/7/05. IF YOU MISS ROLAND, YOU ARE PASSING BY A GREAT VOICE:-) TAKE THE PLUNGE --- IF YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY, YOU WILL NOT BE ADRIFT:-) HAPPY ON THE PLATTE RIVER IN S.E. WYOMING:-)"