Reparata & The Delrons: Girl Group ‘Should Have Beens’

8th April 2017

Title: The Best Of…

Label: Ace

The group began in 1962 as a quartet with singer, Mary Aiese backed by Regina Gallagher, Anne Fitzgerald and Nanette Licari. But that line-up was changed and tweaked to feature Aiese as the singer backed by Licari, Carol Drobnicki and Lorraine Mazzola.

“Reperata is Latin,” said Aiese. “It means to make reparation. Originally, we were know as simply the Del-Rons – after the Del-Satins, the Del Vikings and groups like that. When our second record, Whenever a Teenager Cries (which you can find on this CD) was about to come out, our managers decided that they wanted a name that was a little more flamboyant, more flashy, like Martha & the Vandellas or something. I happened to be the lead singer, so they asked me my middle name. It’s Catherine. Well, Catherine & the Delrons just wasn’t exciting enough. I told them that my confirmation name was Reparata. Perfect!”

The name was taken from Aires’s favourite nun, the choir mistress at the elementary school that she attended.

This trio would become one of the most respected girl groups of the 60s, despite never troubling the Top 40 charts. That said, they had plenty of regional success in the USA while UK listeners might remember the popular song, Captain of Your Ship, the first single to feature Mazzola as the lead singer. The song reached No.15 which prompted a tour of England, “To us, England was a million miles away,” said Aiese. “There was a big reception laid on for us. The Beatles, David Niven and Lulu were all there.” Further concerts were arranged in Europe, “We were exhausted, mentally and physically; the situation was mind boggling. Coming back to New York was a big letdown.” Principally because their taste of stardom and fame had evaporated in their home country.

This nicely mastered CD, which features enough compression to retain a flavour of the times without sounding too bright, provides classic girl group sounds. The songs are catchy, earnestly sung, feature excellent harmonies and provide perfect girl group-esque stylings. I’m completely bemused why this trio were not major stars in the USA.