Reparata and the Delrons

Band members                             Related acts

  line up 1 (1962)

- Mary Aiese (aka Mary O'Leary) -- lead vocals

- Anne Fitzgerald -- vocals

- Regina Gallagher -- vocals

- Nanette Licari -- vocals


  line up 2 (1962-63)

- Mary Aiese (aka Mary O'Leary -- lead vocals

NEW - Carol Drobnicki (RIP 1980) -- vocals

NEW - Sheila Reille - vocals

NEW - Kathy Romeo -- vocals


  line up 3 (1963)

- Mary Aiese (aka Mary O'Leary -- lead vocals

- Carol Drobnicki (RIP 1980) -- vocals

NEW - Margie McGuire (replaced Kathy Romeo) -- vocals

- Sheila Reille - vocals


  line up 5 (1969-73)

NEW - Nanette Licari -- vocals

NEW - Lorraine Mazzola -- lead vocals (replaced  Mary Aiese)

NEW - Cookie Sirico -- vocals


  line up 6 (1978-88)

NEW - Mary Aiese (aka Mary O'Leary) -- lead vocals

- Nanette Licari -- vocals

- Cookie Sirico -- vocals


  line up 7 (1988-95)

- Mary Aiese (aka Mary O'Leary) -- lead vocals

- Cookie Sirico -- vocals

NEW - Laren Stich -- vocals (replaced Nanette Licari)


  line up 7 (1995-2000)

- Mary Aiese (aka Mary O'Leary) -- lead vocals

NEW - Judy Jae -- vocals (replaced Lauren Stich)

- Cookie Sirico -- vocals





- Mary Aiese (solo efforts)

- Judy Jae (solo efforts)

- Lady Flash (Lorraine Mazzola)





Reparata and the Delrons are interesting for a number of reasons,


Originally known as The Delrons, the group was formed in 1962 and featured a series of friends attending Brooklyn's St. Brendan's Catholic School.  The original line up featured lead singer Mary Aiese, Anne Fitzgerald, Regina Gallagher, and Nanette Licari.  Fitgerald, Gallagher and Licari were subsequently replaced by Carol Drobnicki, Sheila Reille, and Kathy Romeo.  Romeo was then replaced by Margie McGuire.

Producers Bill and Steve Jerome spotted the group and arranged for a contract on the New York-based Laurie label.



The Delrons were spotted by record producers Bill and Ted Jerome, who recorded them in 1964 first for Laurie Records, then on the Ernie Maresca song "Whenever a Teenager Cries" on the World Artists label. The song became a regional hit and reached #60 on the Billboard Hot 100; its follow-up, "Tommy", reached #92 on the charts, with the group now called Reparata and the Delrons. The quartet toured nationally with Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars, and the group’s name became more widely known. Drobnicki and Reilly left, and when the group moved to RCA Records in 1965, the group consisted of Aiese, original member Licari and Lorraine Mazzola. Their 1967 release "It's Waiting There For You" became a minor hit in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with airplay on KYSN, 1460-AM. After several unsuccessful releases in a style similar to the Shangri-Las, including Jeff Barry’s "I’m Nobody’s Baby Now" and an album, the group moved again to Mala Records.

[edit] Success in Europe

In 1968 they released "Captain of Your Ship", co-written by Kenny Young. The song missed the U.S. national charts, but made #13 in the UK top 20 and the group toured the United Kingdom. "Saturday Night Didn't Happen" and "Weather Report" were also moderate hits in the UK. Young said[3] of this period:-"If they had been more attractive there could have been a decent career there. They were responsible for me moving to England. I accompanied them to Top Of The Pops...[and]...attended the reception for their hit single "Captain Of Your Ship", along with John Lennon and Ringo at the Revolution Club in London. I met half the Beatles at our own reception...".

Some sources credit Lorraine Mazzola with the lead vocal on Captain of Your Ship, but a filmed performance from German television shows Mary Aiese singing lead, apparently live[4]. This filmed performance appears to be the only archive television footage of the group that is still widely available.


For a group that never made the Top 40, and came along almost too late to exploit the sound they produced, Reparata & the Delrons have proved amazingly durable. Their album haunted used record bins for years, and 18 of their songs cut for World Artists (a label most closely associated with Chad & Jeremy) are available on CD.

Reparata & the Delrons were one of hundreds of girl groups that flourished in the early '60s, and actually had a higher profile than many of their rivals, achieved in their own time by their participation in a pair of Dick Clark national tours and, for years after, from the fact that they actually released a complete LP to accompany their one widely recognized hit, "Whenever a Teenager Cries." That album, Whenever a Teenager Cries, was a low-level collectable piece that was easily found in record store used bins (especially in the northeast) well into the '80s and, in contrast to most other original girl group LPs, only cost $15 to $20. Thus, for 20 years after that album's release, Reparata & the Delrons' music, easier to find and less expensive than, say, originals by the Crystals or Darlene Love, was frequently a first-purchase by lots of people getting into the girl group sound.

The group started out as a quartet in 1962 at St. Brendan's Catholic School in Brooklyn, NY, led by lead singer Mary Aiesen — the other originals were Regina Gallagher, Anne Fitzgerald, and Nanette Licari. By 1964, Mary Aiese, working under the name Reparata Aiese (the name came from a nun at the school, Sister Mary Reparata), had a new group consisting of Sheila Reillie, Kathy Romeo, and Carol Drobnicki. The quartet was singing at a high school dance when they were spotted by Bill and Steve Jerome, brothers and producers looking for new talent to record.

The Jerome brothers got the group — reduced to a trio when Kathy Romeo exited — a record deal with Laurie Records for one single. "Your Big Mistake" passed without notice in the summer of 1964. This was already rather late in the girl group era, and the trio found themselves competing with a tidal wave of British Invasion sounds for attention from DJs. The Jeromes next brought them to the World Artists label in Pittsburgh, PA in late 1964, and they cut a group of songs at their first session that included "Whenever a Teenager Cries."

That song, released in early 1965, became a local success, although it never ascended as high as the Top 50 on the national charts. It was an attractive song in a sort of sub-Angels manner, and got the trio a spot on Dick Clark's Caravan of Stars national tour. Meanwhile, World Artists tried a string of Reparata & the Delrons singles, of which "Tommy" was a modest hit, although their subsequent efforts, including "The Boy I Love," were failures. A complete LP, containing "Whenever a Teenager Cries" and covers of such British Invasion fare as "If I Fell" and "Do Wah Diddy Diddy," was also released in 1965.

By the second half of the year, the Jerome brothers were label-shopping again, and this time the trio ended up at RCA. By the time their debut single on that label was recorded, the group was down to a duo of Mary Aiese and Nanette Licari, Carol Drobnicki having exited rather than embark on another national tour with Dick Clark. Lorraine Mazzola came in to fill the third slot and the trio ultimately cut five singles for RCA over a two-year period, none of which charted, and in early 1967, the group jumped to Mala Records, a division of Bell Records.

The Dick Clark tours ensured that Reparata & the Delrons got seen and heard nationally, even when their records didn't chart. At the same time, the fact that they were based in New York gave the group reason to hope that they might recapture some of their early success and build on it.

Their fortunes picked up a bit late that year with the release of "Captain of Your Ship," the first single to feature Lorraine Mazzola singing lead. It just missed charting in America, but made number 15 in England in early 1968. After three hitless years in America, Reparata & the Delrons found themselves touring England. It was to be a momentary uptick in their success, however, for the group never had a follow-up hit in England. A year later, they were on the Kapp Records label, where they also went hitless for three single releases.

Mary Aiese elected to leave the group she'd founded after five years in the business, turning it and the name "Reparata" over to Lorraine Mazzola. She put together a new group of Delrons and began performing on the oldies circuit, which was becoming a major draw by the dawn of the '70s. In 1973, Mazzola did an album of oldies tunes in a classic girl group style that failed to sell, and Reparata & the Delrons were retired as a name late that year. In 1974, Mazzola re-emerged as a member of Lady Flash, the backup group behind Barry Manilow, and scored a hit a year later with "Street Singin.' Strangely enough, it was Mary Aiese who had the last word as Reparata, reassuming the name and scoring a minor hit in 1975 with her single "Shoes."


   About Reparata & The Delrons

Reparata and the Delrons were an American girl group popular during the 1960s. The Delrons started out as a quartet in 1962 at St. Brendan's Catholic School in Brooklyn, New York, led by lead singer Mary Aiese, who subsequently billed herself as Reparata after Sister Reparata, one of her school teachers. The group were spotted by record producers Bill and Ted Jerome, who recorded them in 1964 first for Laurie Records, and then on the Ernie Maresca song “Whenever a Teenager Cries” on the World Artists label. This became a regional hit but failed to reach the national top 40, a pattern repeated by its follow-up, “Tommy”. However, the trio toured nationally with Dick Clark’s Caravan of Stars, and the group’s name became widely known. In 1965 they moved to RCA Records, Drobnicki and Reillie having been replaced by former member Licari, and Lorraine Mazzola. After several unsuccessful releases in a similar style to the Shangri-Las, including Jeff Barry’s “I’m Nobody’s Baby Now” and an album, they moved again to Mala Records. In 1968 they released "Captain of Your Ship", co-written by Kenny Young. This missed the US national charts, but made the top 20 in the UK, where they then toured. Young said[1] of this period:-"If they had been more attractive there could have been a decent career there. They were responsible for me moving to England. I accompanied them to Top Of The Pops..[and]..attended the reception for their hit single 'Captain Of Your Ship', along with John Lennon and Ringo at the Revolution Club in London. I met half the Beatles at our own reception...". Follow-ups were unsuccessful, and by 1970 Mary Aiese left the group. Initially Lorraine Mazzola’s group continued to bill themselves as Reparata and the Delrons, releasing an album of classic girl group songs, but they retired in 1973 and the following year Mazzola re-emerged as a member of Lady Flash, the back-up group behind Barry Manilow. In the mid-1970s, the group's 1968 single "Panic" became a favourite on the UK's Northern Soul scene, centered around Wigan Casino. Mary Aiese released several solo singles as Reparata, retaining the name after an unsuccessful lawsuit by Mazzola. The most successful was "Shoes" which was a Top 10 hit in South Africa, and a minor hit in the UK and US. Mary Aiese reformed Reparata and the Delrons in the late 1970s and combined performing on the oldies circuit with working as a schoolteacher in Brooklyn. She finally retired the group in 2000. Carol Scordilis, nee Drobnicki, passed away in 1980 from cancer at the age of 33.

Read more:
Fans of the girl group sound usually place Reparata and the Delrons near the top of their list of acts who, if the world was fair, would be household names. The group, which failed to achieve a national Top 40 hit in their homeland, will have to settle for a large cult following and an extensive critically acclaimed repertoire that has stood the test of time.

Mary Aiese, Anne Fitzgerald, Regina Gallagher, and Nanette Licari first formed the Del-rons, in honour of the Dell-Vikings, in high school during 1962. The group was mostly just for fun, and the line-up constantly changed - so much so that two years later, during Mary’s graduating year at Saint Brendan’s Catholic High School she was the only original member. The Del-rons, now consisting of Carol Drobnicki, Mary McGuire, Cathy Romeo, and Sheila Reilly (aka Reillie), came to the attention of two brother who owned a local record shop and a small recording studio. Impressed by the group's sweet sound and disposition, Bill and Steve Jerome, recorded some demos with the girls and shopped them around to some New York record labels.

Once it became apparent the group would pursue a music career in earnest Mary McGuire dropped out. Cathy Romeo was excited about the chance to record and become a star, but the Jeromes were a little concerned about her weight. In an interview with author John Clemente, Mary remembers the other girls wanting fame so badly they agreed to oust Cathy, owing it to a poor singing voice. She says the girls promised a disappointed Cathy a corvette if they became the next Supremes. Now a more 'slim' trio, the group and their master tapes were presented to record company executives.

The group was snatched up by the Laurie, which was having great success with another girl group, the Chiffons, at the time. Perhaps not having the promotional muscle to fully promote two girl groups at a time when the field was becoming crowded, the group's sole release "Your Big Mistake b/w Leave Us Alone," came and went without much fanfare.

Whatever disappointment the girls might have had was tempered by their busy schedule. Whisked backed into the studio, the Jeromes next approached World Artists to release the pleasant "Whenever A Teenager Cries," in 1964. The record, credited to Reparata and the Delrons (Mary assumed the name of a nun at her old school), was the complete opposite of the Dixie Cups' joyful "Chapel of Love" which was popular at the time. It became a monster hit in New York, reaching number one locally. For some reason the record did not match its local success nationally and only managed to reach number 60 on the Billboard charts. The follow-up, "Tommy," was an equally potent mix of teen angst which is better remembered on oldies stations today. Unfortunately it also failed to generate big sales outside of New York. An album called Whenever A Teenager Cries was also released around this time to capitalize on the song's success locally, but it wasn't a big seller.

The group started to tour heavily around the country to promote themselves, but Carol and Sheila soon deserted Mary Aiese. The touring had become too much for them and they simply left for home. An embarrassed Reparata continued on as a solo singer for the rest of the tour making lame excuses for the absence of the Delrons. The next World Artists release was credited only to Reparata, but Carol and Sheila could still be heard in the background. The group name was back on "The Boy I Love b/w I Found A Place," but the success of the first couple of singles was not forth-coming, and World Artists dropped the act in the middle of 1965 and shut its doors shortly thereafter.

The Jeromes were not about to give up on their pride and joy, so Mary "Reparata" Aiese looked for replacement Delrons once the tour ended. A new group including Lorraine Mazzola, and original Delron Nanette Licari, joined up around the time the group began a stint at RCA records. Lesley Gore was rumoured to have provided back-up on their first release on the label, "I Can Tell," before Lorraine had not yet joined the group.

By this point in their career, Reparata and the Delrons started to move away from their cute girlish sound and towards a new more sophisticated style. Influenced by Phil Spector's emerging wall of sound, the group's second release on RCA has become a treasured cult favourite among girl group collectors. "I'm Nobody's Baby Now" written and produced by Jeff Barry, fresh from his divorce to fellow songwriter Ellie Greenwich, was an emotional and artistic high-point for the group. Densely layered vocals and instrumentation, a sad spoken lyric similar to the style of the Shangri-las' lead singer Mary Weiss, and a powerful message that saw them leaving their carefree youth behind, the song could have easily made the Top 10. But, once again it failed to move many copies, just nipping at the bottom of the Billboard Top 100.

In fact, none of their RCA single were hits, though not for lack of quality releases. "Mama's Little Girl," "The Kind of Trouble That I Love," and "I Can Hear The Rain," all continued to show the Delrons' progression.

Mala Records was the next label to sport the group’s name. "I Believe," and update of a tune originally done by the Earls in 1963 and "Captain Of Your Ship" both flopped in America..The first single failed to chart and "Captain Of Your Ship," couldn't get out of the port, bubbling under at number 127.

Record buyers in the United Kingdom reacted entirely differently, however. One of the biggest girl group hits of the 1960s, "Captain Of Your Ship" hit number 13 on a long chart run. The group toured the other side of the pond, and met crowds of fans, including the Beatles. But the hit seemed to be the exception and not the rule for Reparata and company, who despite releasing excellent mod-rock sides like "Saturday Night Didn’t Happen," "Weather Forecast," and "Heaven Only Knows," followed in quick secession, couldn't seem to find a successful follow-up.

Lorraine and Nanette both took time off when touring became too hectic again. When both returned, the group moved to Kapp Records to record "That’s What Sends Men To The Boweries," "We’re Gonna Hold The Night b/w San Juan," and "Walkin’ In The Rain," but none of these singles brought the girls back to the charts. The last of these songs, originally a big hit for the Ronettes in 64/65 started to attract some attention, but before it could ride to the top, another cover by Jay and the Americans beat them out and hit number 19. According to Clemente's book Girl Groups: Fabulous Females That Record The World, subsequent pressings of the competing single had "Sorry Reparata" etched in.

Avco-Embassy carried Reparata and the Delrons last effort on vinyl. Lorraine, who had become the new lead voice since "Captain Of Your Ship," also became Reparata when Mary left the group. Cookie Sirico joined in time for Rock And Roll Revolution, which was filled with oldie goldie girl group hits. The group also provided background vocals for the Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women."

Lorraine went to work as a television producer for a local program called "The Morning Show" but kept the name Reparata and the Delrons (with Nanette and Cookie) for touring purposes. While working on the show, Lorraine got word that up-coming singer Barry Manilow wanted a girl group to back him on record and on tour. He had apparently asked about finding Reparata and the Delrons, a group he liked from the 60s. Lorraine joined Lady Flash, Barry Manilow’s back-up group, and had a couple of hits in the late seventies with the group as well. Cookie and Nanette decided to stay home, and the group finally disbanded.

Meanwhile, Mary Aiese, was still occasionally recording for the Jerome Brothers, ("Octopus' Garden," and "There's So Much Time" in the early 1970s). In 1975, a discoish single called "Shoes (Johnny and Louise)" coupled with a gentle ballad called "A Song For All" was flying up the British charts and starting to gain spins on this side of the pond. It seemed Reparata would finally have the hit for which she had worked more than a decade. But Lorraine Mazzola was still user the Reparata moniker with Manilow and she filed a lawsuit claiming Mary had given up the right to the name when she left the group. The label that was carrying "Shoes" immediately withdrew the single, and Mary spent the next several years in court trying to win back the name. Eventually Mazzola failed to appear for the hearing, and the name was given back to the original lead vocalist - of course, this was all just a little to late to pick up where 'Shoes" had left off.

But Mary did decide to keep the reformed group touring, and Nanette and Cookie both stayed on for several years. Today when Mary isn’t hearing the cries of teenagers in her Brooklyn classroom, she still performs with her Delrons.



The Story Of Reparata & The Delrons

Nobody's Baby Now

"I'M NOBODY'S BABY NOW" is regarded by aficionados as not only the best record REPARATA & THE DELRONS ever made, but also as one of the greatest of the entire girl group genre. But it was not a hit record.

They might not figure too heavily in chart reference books at all, but this exotically monikered outfit are one of the most fondly remembered and highly rated of the 1960s girl group boom. Their lead singer had one of the most distinctive voices of the era; an angst-ridden New York whine rivalled by few outside of the Shangri-Las' Mary Weiss. That handle helps, too. Once heard never forgotten. So where did it come from? Well, believe it or not, the group was so named after a singing nun. Your reporters spoke to the Delrons' ringleader Mary O'Leary (née Aiese), who told us their story . . .

"Originally we were known as simply the Del-Rons; after the Del Vikings, the Del Satins and groups like that. When our second record, "Whenever A Teenager Cries," was about to come out, our managers decided that they wanted a name that was a little more flamboyant, flashy, like Martha & the Vandellas or something. I happened to be 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! So we became Reparata & the Delrons. I had taken the name from the choir mistress at Good Shepherds Elementary School, Sister Reparata, my favourite nun. Little did I realize that it would come in so useful in the years to come."

The Del-Rons were formed in 1962. Original members Mary Aiese, Ann Fitzgerald, Regina Gallagher and Nanette Licari were all classmates at St. Brendan's Catholic High School for Girls in Brooklyn, New York. They loved singing in the school choir and took to harmonizing together at local hops and church functions. "I wasn't really much of a rock & roll fan," says Mary. "But I do remember buying "Why" by Frankie Avalon. What we all really loved was just singing together in harmony, a cappella. We'd perform Peter, Paul & Mary songs, or "Gloria", or sometimes a Dion song; he was a big local hero."

Classmates came and went and by 1964 the group's line-up had changed to Carol Drobnicki, Sheila Reilly, Kathy Romeo and Marge McGuire, with only Mary remaining from the original Del-Rons. The girls were talent-spotted at a Brooklyn hop, which led to an audition with producers Steve and Bill Jerome. Mary, "Steve and Bill had their own store front studio. I thought they liked us but they said they'd call us back in a few months. Well, I thought we'd never hear from them! But they rang the very next day and asked us to go in and record some demos."

No doubt sensing the need for an in vogue girl group to add to their stable of acts, the Jerome brothers signed the Del-Rons – now a trio of Mary, Carol & Sheila – to a production and management contract. The group's first record, which coupled "Your Big Mistake" and "Leave Us Alone", both penned by Ernie "Shout, Shout, Knock Yourself Out" Maresca, was leased to the Laurie label, home to Dion & the Belmonts and the Chiffons. The record "da-doo-ron-ronned" along in a style that was already slightly out of fashion and sales were minimal. Copies are now much prized by collectors.

The next outlet for the now newly re-christened Reparata & the Delrons was Lou Guarino's World Artists label, then enjoying some success with the English 'posh-pop' duo Chad Stewart & Jeremy Clyde. The girls' "Whenever A Teenager Cries," another Maresca-penned number, was issued late in 1964. It captured perfectly the sound and spirit of hot Red Bird acts like the Dixie Cups. Credit must go to the Jeromes, arranger John Abbott and, as the label proudly stated, Hash Brown & his Orchestra. Mary, "Hash Brown's real name was Harry Lookovsky. He was an older man and very talented. He was a brilliant violinist and arranger. Michael Brown of the Left Banke is his son." "Whenever A Teenager Cries" entered the Billboard Hot 100 in early 1965, eventually peaking at #60. Thanks to NY radio stations like WMCA, the song was a much bigger hit on the East Coast than nationally.

Mary, Sheila and Carol were all still full-time college students at the time but were granted time off from their studies so that they could accept some of the offers of work that came their way. Most important was a place on a Dick Clark Caravan Of Stars tour, 28 one-nighters on a coach with the Tradewinds, Round Robin, Lou Christie and others. Life on the road was a shock to the system for the three innocent teenagers.

"We didn't even stay in a hotel every night," says Mary. "Alternate nights we'd have to sleep on the bus or in one of the cars as we drove from gig to gig. This was in the 1960s, remember, the Martin Luther King era. There were all these Ku Klux Klan hangings going on and we found ourselves driving through Alabama on a mixed-race coach. We were like a Freedom Bus! We'd pull up to a diner and they'd lower the blinds or put up a closed sign. Eventually I was forced to complain to the tour bus manager about the hotels we were staying in. They were less than excellent. Why couldn't we stay in a decent hotel with a pool or something? I didn't realize that it was because we were an integrated group. On the bus we were all equals. We were friends. But outside of the bus it was a different world. I was so shocked. Being from New York, I hadn't experienced anything like it before."

World Artists were not slow in releasing a Reparata & the Delrons album. At first glance the Whenever A Teenager Cries LP might have appeared just another hit single and eleven soundalike fillers and cover-versions, but record-buyers got much more than that for their dollars. The group's mandatory renditions of such hits of the day as the Chiffons' "I Have A Boyfriend" came close to matching the originals and to boot there were a number of excellent new compositions such as "In My Diary," co-written by the enigmatic Brute Force, and 'Remember When," penned in part by Michael Brown of the Left Banke. So is it really true that Reparata was assisted on some tracks by legendary session group Patti Lace & the Petticoats? "Yes, that's right," says Mary. "And Ellie Greenwich sang on some songs too."

Dick Clark immediately offered the group a spot on his next tour, a 43-date marathon featuring Billy Stewart, the Ikettes, Herman's Hermits, Bobby Vee, Little Anthony & the Imperials, the Detergents and Brenda Holloway. But disaster struck when two members of the group failed to show up for the tour bus. Mary, "We were supposed to all meet at the Sheraton Park Hotel but Sheila and Carol just didn't turn up. Well, as you can imagine, our managers were furious. Sheila and Carol were dismissed from the group and I was forced to go on the tour on my own. By this time our latest record was "Tommy," which is impossible to sing solo. So the other girls' parts were sung from the wings by . . . no, not Brenda Holloway or the Ikettes but the Detergents."


Tommy" reached #92 on the Billboard chart. The next two singles were credited to a reluctantly solo Reparata but, unfortunately, "I Found My Place" and "A Summer Thought" both failed to click with the public. The World Artists label ceased operation shortly afterwards.

The Jerome brothers, now numbering not only Reparata & the Delrons but also the Left Banke and the Fifth Estate among their hit acts, had no difficulty securing Mary a new contract at RCA. The only snag was that Nipper and Co. demanded a non-solo Reparata, thus instigating an urgent search for two new Delrons. Nanette Licari from the group's original line-up was quickly re-enlisted and, with a little additional help from session-singer Lesley Miller, Mary set about recording "I Can Tell." Numerous auditions eventually led to Lorraine Mazzola restoring the group to a trio in time to promote the single.

Lesley Gore also cut a version of "I Can Tell." Did this lead to any rivalry? "Oh, major petulance!" says Mary. "Hash Brown, our orchestra leader, played on both versions, so we were kind of anticipating something. We were booked to appear on Clay Cole's TV show and Lesley was supposed to star. When she found out we were on the bill, she refused to appear at all!"

Next came the Jeff Barry-authored "I'm Nobody's Baby Now," a successful coalition of the lush Phil Spector sound and Shangs-inspired despair. It failed to sell but remains Reparata & the Delrons' magnum opus. The group's RCA releases continued apace with "Mama's Little Girl" and "The Kind Of Trouble That I Love," culminating in mid-'67 with "I Can Hear The Rain," another gem that came close to matching Spector at his own game. "Melba Moore helped out on that session," remembers Mary.

Later that year the group were signed to Larry Utall's Mala label, debuting with a version of the evergreen "I Believe." Reparata & the Delrons' next release, "Captain Of Your Ship," featured more gimmicks than you could shake a stick at; with clanging bells, foghorns, morse code, megaphoned vocals and tempo changes galore, not to mention enough nautical metaphors in the lyrics to sink a, erm, ship. It reached #13 on the UK charts in 1968, doing much to establish the Bell label in Britain.

Once again our subjects' studies were put on hold as they flew in to London to promote the record. "There was a big reception laid on for us," recalls Mary. "The Beatles, David Niven and Lulu were all there. Then we went off and played about every city in England. We represented the USA at the Polish International Song Festival and went over to Germany too. But it must have been a public holiday, or something, because Germany was closed! There were interviews, parties and constant travelling. We were mentally and physically exhausted." Lorraine went AWOL during the group's European jaunt, leaving Mary and Nanette to return to the States without her. "Coming back to New York was such a let down. It was such a strange feeling to come home to Brooklyn and be nobodies again."

With Lorraine safely back in the ranks, the group went on to release three more singles on Mala. Although none of the sides were hits, several of them, like "It's Waiting There For You" and "Panic," along with some of their earlier RCA sides, would go on to achieve popularity on the British northern soul scene.

Nanette was the next Delron to take temporary leave of absence, which coincided with another label change, to Kapp in 1969. The straw that broke the camel's back came late that year when their third 45 for the label, a remake of the Ronettes' "Walking In The Rain," was outsold by a rival rendition by Jay & the Americans. Etched into the run-off grooves of the Americans' hit version was the message "Sorry Reparata." Mary, by now married and keen to start a family, chose this moment to quit the group.

Mary gave her blessing for the group to continue without her. Lorraine Mazzola took over as lead vocalist and the addition of new girl Cookie Sirico brought the line-up back to three. The group released 1970 Rock & Roll Revolution, a quickie album of girl group oldies for the Avco Embassy label, before disbanding in 1973. Lorraine went on to work as a backing vocalist for Barry Manilow.

Meanwhile, Reparata, although now a happily busy mother and wife, continued to release occasional quirky solo singles like "Octopus's Garden" and "Jezebee Lancer The Belly Dancer." In 1975 she made a surprise return to the charts on both sides of the Atlantic with the absurdly catchy "Shoes."

Things turned sour when Mary spotted an announcement in Billboard magazine that claimed she was an impostor and that the real Reparata was then presently fronting a group named Lady Flash. The group in question was Barry Manilow's back-up trio and the claimant was none other than Lorraine Mazzola. Mary, "As you can imagine, I was upset about this. When I left the group, I had no objection to them continuing without me. But I never dreamed that someone would then try to stop me from using my own name. I know that we weren't in the same league as the Supremes, but it would have been like Mary Wilson calling herself Diana Ross! Lorraine and I had been friends for years and here she was trying to steal my name. I was personally offended. I considered that Reparata was my real name. It wasn't a name that was invented. I had personally chosen Reparata as my confirmation name after my choir mistress at school. I 'phoned Lorraine and she told me that the story in Billboard was all Manilow's idea and that she would speak to him about it. Next thing I knew I was contacted by his attorney and the writs started flying." Mary and Lorraine are no longer friends.

Reparata - the REAL Reparata, Mary Aiese-O'Leary - and her latter-day Delrons continued to perform live in the New York area until recent times. "Those songs are near and dear to me", says Mary. "They are my teenage years. I will always want to hear them performed properly, with love and care."

Recalling REPARATA & THE DELRONS' classic "I'M NOBODY'S BABY NOW," Mary – now a schoolteacher of long standing – says, "Sometimes we'd be given a demo disc to listen to and learn, but with this song Jeff Barry was there in person at the piano. He played "I'm Nobody's Baby Now" from start to finish. I knew it was something special straight away. Of all our recordings, this is the one I'm most proud of."



Genre: rock

Rating: 1 star *

Title:  1970 Rock & Roll Revolution

Company: AVCO Embassy

Catalog: AVE 33008

Country/State: Brooklyn, New York

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 6030

Price: $25.00


Five years after their debut Reparata and the Delrons reappeared with their sophomore LP.   Mind you, while this was credited as a Delrons release, it featured a brand new line-up.  Having married and 'retired' from music to become a mother and an elementary school teacher, original lead singer Mary Aiese was replaced by Lorraine Mazzola, with backing vocals from original member Nanette Licari and newcomer Cooky Sirico. 


Produced by Steve and Bill Jerome "1970 Rock & Roll Revolution"  certainly looked like an attempt to modernize the group's imagine, but a closer inspection of the album revealed lame 1967-era artwork and the twelve songs were all remakes of late-1950s and early-1960s girl group and pop classics.  Even stranger, with the exception of their Catholic folk mass-styled arrangement of The Chiffon's 'He's So Fine', most of the performances played it fairly straightforward sticking with the original arrangements.  The vocals were fine, but the experience was like buying one of those K-Tel hits packages where some anonymous studio group covered the most recent top-40 hits.  On the surface it sure seemed like a weird artistic and business project, but 1970 was a timeframe that saw the public briefly enamored with a host of 1950s and early 1960s acts.  As a result I'd guess this was nothing more than a marketing exercise aimed at grabbing a piece of that market niche and the disposable income that went along with it.  


"1970 Rock & Roll Revolution" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Please Love Me Forever   (Ollie Bradchard - Johnny Malone) - 2:53     rating: * star

For a group that supposedly had a dark, slightly ominous edge, the sentimental ballad 'Please Love Me Forever' came as a disappointment.  Their rote cover of Bobby Vinton's early-1960s hit was pure dreck. 

2.) Lollipop    (Julius Dixson - Beverly Ross) - 2:05   rating: *** stars

To be honest, their cover of 'Lollipop' really didn't have a great deal going for it.  The arrangement stayed very close to The Chordettes' original hit and in 1970 it was hopelessly obsolete.  That said, their harmony vocals were nice and the song had a goofy appeal - kind of like the nostalgic feel you get when you enjoy a true malted milk shake.  The liner notes misspelled co-writer Julius Dixson's last name as 'Dixon'.   

3.) Eddie My Love   (Aaron Collins - Davis - Ling) - 3:11     rating: * star

'Eddie My Love' was another period ballad (The Teen Queens recorded the original version),  Stick with the original.  

4.) To Know Him Is To Love Him    (Phil Spector) - 2:18     rating: * star

Co-written by Phil Spector (and supposedly inspired by the words on his father's tombstone), Anyone familiar with the Teddy Bears original version of 'To Know Him Is To Love Him' was liable to simply skip this one.    

5.) I Met Him On a Sunday  (Owens - Harris - Coley - Lee) - 2:09     rating: * star

While this 1950s styled number has never done a great deal for me, for what it was worth, The Shirelles version of  'I Met Him On a Sunday' beat this cover to pieces. 

6.) He's So Fine    (Ronald Mack) - 2:03   rating: *** stars

Anyone who loved The Chiffons' classic version of 'He's So Fine' was liable to scratch their heads wondering what was up with this cover.  As mentioned above, the song was given a Catholic folk mass-styled arrangement complete lots of upbeat strumming acoustic guitars and sweeping backing vocals.  It was strange, but actually kind of harmless fun.      


(side 2)
1.) Be My Baby   (Phil Spector - Ellie Greenwich - Barry) - 2:30     rating: * star

With a lead vocal that sounded like it was recorded in a bathroom stall, their cover of The Ronnettes 'Be My Baby' simply couldn't compete.  Completely forgettable.   

2.) Angel Baby    (Rose Hamlin) - 3:58     rating: * star

I think Rosie & The Originals did the original ...  regardless this was another thoroughly forgettable 1950s tinged ballad with a hideous falsetto from Mazzola.   Yech.    

3.) Mr. Lee   (Dixon - Gathers - E. Pought - J. Pought-Webb) - 2:24     rating: * star

The Bobbettes did the original version and it kills this one.  

4.) Every Beat of My Heart   (Johnny Otis) - 1:57     rating: * star

'Every Beat of My Heart' probably gets my vote for worst performance.  The song is bland and forgettable, but Mazzola's trembling vocal (she seemed intent on channeling Patsy Cline), made it virtually unlistenable.    

5.) Maybe   (Richard Barrett) - 2:57

6.) Till    (Carl Sigman - Charles Denvera)- 2:18     rating: * star

At least to my ears 'Maybe' and 'Till' reflect the worst of 1950s/1960s pop - highly orchestrated, sickly sweet sentimental ballads.  Yeah, this was 'the moon is blue' type of pap.


So you've probably figured out that I'm not a big fan of this one.  Doesn't mean someone out there might not like it ...  and the LP is in great shape !


The album quickly vanished into cut out bins, though there was an obscure one-shot non-LP 45 on Big Tree:





- 1971's 'Just You' b/w 'There's so Little Time' (Big Tree catalog number BT-114)








The Delrons then called it quits.  Lead singer Mazzola (who'd legally changed her name to Reparata Mazzola), reappeared as a member of Barry Manilow's backing group Lady Flash.  





In 1973 original lead singer Aiese released a Reparata solo 45:


- 'Octopus Garden' b/w 'Your Life Is Gone' (Laurie catalog number 3589)






In 1975 another Reparata solo side appeared with backing from the Pennsylvania band Felix Harp - the 'A" side was also penned by Felix Harp's Eric Beam:

- 1975's 'Shoes' b/w 'A Song For All' (Polydor PD-14271) # 92 pop 



There was also a follow-on single:


- 1976's 'Jesabee Lancer (the Belly Dancer)' b/w 'We Need You' (Polydor catalog number PD-14298)


That led to a lawsuit between Aiese and Mazzola over rights to the Reparate name - Aiese ultimately won the case.  





In 1978 Aiese decided to reform the group along with Licari and Sircio.  They hit the oldies circuit and became a popular act throughout the Northeast, finally calling it quits in 2000.  


Though I've never heard or seen it, there's a 1981 private press release - 'On the Road Again' (Perfection Sound catalog number )