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Max Uballez

Max Uballez is a true legend of East L.A.’s music scene. He formed his band The Romancers in 1960 while still a teen- ager. The early members of the group lived in the Lincoln Heights district of East Los Angeles and they attended Lin- The Romancers, Max Uballez in the center 17576 Chicano 1 book 36 pg.pmd 31 coln High School. Max and The Romancers played true Chicano rock and roll, sounding very much like Ritchie Valens during their early days when they started playing shows at Rainbow Gardens in Pomona. Their rising popu- larity within the Los Angeles area came to the attention of manager Billy Cardenas. Billy called Bob Keane, who had recorded Valens, and got Max an audition. Uballez recorded You’d Better at Keane’s small Del-Fi Studio, but Keane didn’t release it for some rea- son. Billy took Max and The Romancers to Magic Circle Records in Santa Monica.

The recording contract was signed by Uballez’ mother, as Max was still too young. You’d Better was recorded again and released in early 1962 on Magic Circle 4226 as by Maximilian and The Romancers. The sin- gle got immediate airplay on radio station KFWB. Meanwhile Keane decided he wanted to keep Max on his label. Billy and Max returned to Del-Fi and cut two tracks in Cucamonga released under the name Max Uballes on Keane’s Donna label. The A-side was the Valens composition Rock Little Darlin’, backed with the Jimmy Foster-penned song Shirley. Foster also recorded Shirley for Del-Fi. The release of this record caused legal problems with Magic Circle. According to the contract his mother had signed, Max wasn’t allowed to record his voice for other labels. But this didn’t stop Max from continuing with Del-Fi.

He wrote some instrumentals, and one of them was Slauson Shuffle which became a huge local hit in 1963 for his Romancers on Del-Fi 4225. The Romancers album ‘Do The Slauson,’ Del-Fi 1245, was recorded in 1963 and a second album followed that same year on Del-Fi’s subsidairy Selma Records. The Romancers with Max Uballez not only became popular in the area, they also influenced other East L.A. bands (The Premiers, Canni- bal and The Headhunters). They signed with Eddie Davis’ Linda logo in 1964 and switched to Prospect and Dot in ’65...

Marc Mittelacher in August 2020

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The Right To Rock - The Mexicano And Chicano Rock'n'Roll Rebellion 1955-1963 (CD)

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