Band members                              Related acts

  line up 1 (1969-70)
- Steve Mace -- vocals, rhythm guitar 

- John Nickel -- vocals, bass 

- Kenny Ross (RIP 2005) -- vocals, percussion 

Dennis Tobell (aka Dennis Roman, aka Demian Bell) --

  vocals, guitar, keyboards 

- Paul Welsh (RIP 1988) -- vocals, drums 


  line up 2 (1970-72)
- Steve Mace -- vocals, rhythm guitar 

NEW - Jeff Lutz -- bass (replaced John Nickel) 

- John Nickel -- vocals, bass 

Dennis Tobell (aka Dennis Roman, aka Demian Bell) --

  vocals, guitar, keyboards 

- Paul Welsh (RIP 1988) -- vocals, drums 




The Barbarians (Dennis Tobell aka Damian Bell, aka 

   Dennis Roman)

- The Blues Mekaniks (Demian Bell)

- Contraband (Dennis Roman)

- Demian Bell (solo efforts)

- Harp N Chords (Dennis Roman)






Genre: rock

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  The Real 

Company: Colossus

Catalog: CS-1007

Year: 1971

Country/State: Baltimore, Maryland

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: minor edge wear

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5080

Price: $100.00


The late-1960s found singer/guitarist Steve Mace, percussionist Kenny Ross, and drummer Paul Welsh playing in the Baltimore-based band The Paupers (not to be confused with the Canadian band of the same name).  Following the band's collapse the trio continued their partnership, adding bassist John Nickel and singer/multi-instrumentalist Dennis Tobell to their lineup. Tobell had an extensive resume, including stints in former The Moss, The Rogues, Van Morrison's touring band, a late inning line up of The Barbarians and Good Grief.  Having set their lineup in 1969 the band began performing as Maypole (the name apparently nicked from the famous Nathaniel Hawthorne book).  Playing local dances and teen clubs found the quintet attracting a growing fan base which somehow attracted the attention of producer/songwriter Jerry Ross who promptly signed them to his newly formed MGM-affiliated Colossus label. 


Produced by Pat Perticone and completed in less than 20 hours over a three day period, 1971's "The Real" was musically diverse, if somewhat erratic, but had more than it's share of interesting moments.  Clocking in at over 50 minutes, the collection offered up an interesting mix of Hendrix-styled hard rock, Yardbirds-styled blues rock with an occasional psych move thrown in.  Certainly a reflection of the times, the album was also littered with traces of self-importance (or if you were cynically bent outright pomposity).  To grab a quote from Welsh's extensive  liner notes: "Maypole intends to combine the techniques of literature in lyrics and structure with the feeling generated by our music to communicate the "real" to an unlimited audience".  Curiously, a bunch of reviews indicate the album had a distinctive progressive feel to it. Frankly I've never heard it.  Largely penned by Tobell and Welsh, side one offered up a sidelong suite that some folks might have mistaken as progressive, but was actually quite commercial.  Tracks like 'Show Me The Way', 'Henry Stared' and and even the rocker 'Johnny' retained a distinctive commercial sheen, complete with strong melodies and some nice group harmonies.  Not quite the lost classic dedicated fans and dealers would have you believe, but not far from it.  Elsewhere Colossus tapped the album for an quickly forgotten single: 'Show Me the Way' b/w 'Johnny' (Colossus catalog number CS-131). 


"The Real" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Glance At The Past (instrumental)

2.) Show Me The Way

3.) Henry Stared

4.) Change Places

5.) Under A Wave


(side 2)
1.) Johnny - 

2.) Come Back - 4:25

3.) You Were - 2:55

4.) In The Beginning - 4:40

5.) Dozy World - 3:10

6.) Stand Alone - 7:15

6.) Look At Me - 3:20


With Colossus about to slide into bankruptcy the album was released with little fanfare or financial support.  The band toured behind the set, opening for the likes of Nils Lofgrin and Grin and The Bob Seger System, but the album quickly ending up in cutout bins.  In an odd career choice the band subsequently relocated to Holland (home for most of the other Colossus label acts) where they paid their bills as a moderately popular concert act.  Unfortunately drugs and other lifestyle excesses saw numerous personnel changes including the addition of former 'Good Grief bassist John Lutz.  By 1972 the band had collapsed, though several members briefly continued performing as 'The Flying Circus' followed by an equally brief stint as 'Sass'.  Tobell went on to play with a number of bands including Contraband, Mean Green and Ozz.  


The LP's been reissued a couple of times.  The 2005 Radioactive CD format release was apparently done without approval from the band (Radioactive catalog RRCD-114).  The same year the Gear Fab label also released it in CD format under catalog number GF-219.  With approval and cooperation from Tobell, in late 2006 the Anopheles label also released the album in vinyl format.


Both bassist Ross and drummer Welsh have passed on.  Sadly after losing a thumb in an accident and no longer being able to play drums Welsh committed suicide in 1988.  Ross died on liver cancer in May 2005.  Original bassist John Nickle disappeared, though at least one reference indicates he passed away in 2003.


Now living and working in Germany, Tobell/Bell has an interesting website at: