Originally known as the Milkboilers, Sarah, Hilary and Louise first clustered around a microphone to sing girl- group backup on records by the Milkshakes, for whom they doubled as groupies and squeezes. After taking lead chores on “Boys,” they cut their own two-volume set of four-song 7-inches “with musical accompaniment by Thee Milkshakes” for Big Beat (then the ‘Shakes label), collecting these songs plus three outtakes and five new tracks cut for a radio program into a debut album, Dangerous Charms. The predominance of ’60s classics only emphasizes their flat vocals, but on the Hampshire/Childish tunes, written with such limitations well in mind, they ignite, sparkle (and sputter) with undeniable enthusiasm and, well, charm.
Following a short period of inactivity resulting from a clash of headstrong personalities regarding leadership and direction, the band resurfaced as Delmonas 5!, now down to two members (renamed Miss Ida Red and Ludella Black) with the original Caesars lineup as backing. Recorded louder, harsher and with considerably more confidence, the mood on Delmonas 5! is darker, with a greatly bolstered Nancy Sinatra tuff-girl quotient.
The Delmonas has the same raw immediacy, perhaps even accentuating it, and includes the first album’s lost title track plus a pair of songs redone with French lyrics, again relying two parts on real oldies and one part on new oldies from assorted Childish bands — the most darkly melodic tunes thereof. Do the Uncle Willy collects slightly less crisp sounding tracks from the two previous LPs plus a pair of alternate versions and a previously un-Monaed Billytune for their most “flattering” LP, a spirited soundtrack for dreary afternoons and bleary aftermidnights.