31 March 2021

Reupload - Bryan Evans - Dont'cha Like Boys/ I Cry For Me

Camp glam classic given a straighter approach

Label: Pye
Year of Release: 1978

Keen "Left and to the Back" readers will know that some months ago, I uploaded Starbuck's "Do You Like Boys?" for everyone's delight and delectation. There's much more about the flop disc here (beneath the blurb about the equally fascinating Prowler single) but in a nutshell, it was a gay glam rock record which failed to pick up much radio airplay. "Do you go for a mean, aggressive bear?" Starbuck asked their listeners forcefully.

The plot gets much thicker, because a full five years after that single flopped, Bryan Evans decided to have another bash at making it a hit, albeit with Howard and Blaikley's original lyrics dramatically altered to obscure the original reading. Gone are the references to homosexual attraction, and instead the song could be interpreted as Bryan selling himself as something of a ladies man, seemingly questioning whether the woman of his desires is either asexual or a lesbian. "Dont'cha Like Boys?" he asks, while squealing analogue synths go off around him like personal attack alarms. Of course, if you've heard the Starbuck original first, it's hard to hear the question in quite such a way, and it still manages to seem flamboyant and camp. The directness is lost, and it's become an object of ambiguity instead.

It's a baffling addition to the Howard and Blaikley canon, but you can't blame them for trying to turn a brilliant single into a proper hit. By 1978, though, the analogue keyboard sounds and stomping glam beats really were yesterday's news, and it stood not a hope in hell. A shame, as this is a spirited and different approach which at another point might have lead to success.
As for who Bryan Evans is or was, he had a string of 45s out in the seventies on a variety of labels from CBS to EMI, including a much-fancied (by collectors) version of Cream's "We're Going Wrong" - but beyond the fact that he briefly worked with Giorgio Moroder, I've struggled to identify him. If you have any clues, please leave me a comment below.
[Blog update: since I last uploaded this in 2017, a number of readers have come forward attempting to unmask Evans. He apparently ran the small independent Wren Records in the seventies where Meic Stevens issued a number of records, and was a performer in a number of West End musicals in the seventies including "Joseph and His Technicolour Dreamcoat".
Besides being in the Langland Bay Lifeguards for a while - that's the actual lifeguards, you fools, not the name of some progressive rock group, so don't go searching Discogs for them - he eventually became (and possibly still is) a property developer in the Mumbles area of Swansea. And that's all we've managed to dig up. I hope he's doing well, and if you know more do feel free to leave a comment.] 
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