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First  I would like to let everyone know who has bought, traded, or sold my album that was put out by Radioactive Records UK. that you have aided and abetted a Criminal organization, that has ripped off dozens of other artists besides me of their music,their royalties and their dignity. Their arrogant business practices have no bounds. I invite you to read more about these music pirates

Later I will publish a list of all the mail order websites who have defied my cease and desist requests to stop selling my pirated versions of the Maypole album. There are only two companies authorized to sell this album and they are Gear Fab Records in CD form, and Anopheles Records in the vinyl form. Any others are fakes and frauds and are of inferior quality.

Sound Tracks | Maypole     City Paper, Baltimore, Maryland

California reissue label Anopheles has just rereleased a great hard-rock album from the following year by Charm City's own Maypole. Originally released on MGM subsidiary label Colossus, Maypole's only album would seem to have a fairly low profile as a psychedelic obscurity, but it turns out to be a surprisingly grand affair.

Rooted heavily in English rock of the era, Maypole nevertheless managed also to foreshadow certain strains of '70s pop rock. Group leader Dennis Tobell's (Demian Bell)songwriting is surprising in its consistently high inspiration throughout, including some long, involved tunes that have more to do with the burgeoning rock-opera aesthetic of the time--though The Real is itself not thematic--than with prog rock. Driven by adept and tough rhythm guitar, this all sounds like a strange accomplishment for a band with as minor a profile as Maypole's. The Real also evinces a certain wistful pathos that was possible with psychedelic music but perhaps ultimately only manifested itself in rare instances like The Notorious Byrd Brothers and the 13th Floor Elevators' Easter Everywhere.

Maypole - The Real

file under Prog/sympho metal

Evil Dr. Smith: Don't confuse this band with the recently folded hardcore band from Eindhoven, Holland. This band is an American band from the very early seventies. Their progressive seventies rock leans sometimes to pure traditional hard rock, but contains also the occasional psychedelic elements and in the vocal harmonies we can hear even Blood, Sweat & Tears and The Band. That gives this album a diverse sound, which is sometimes pretty raw, but in the next (part of the) song is almost sweet, slick and smooth. Not every song is a winner, but lead singer Demian Bell has an enjoyable timbre and even a better Fender (Telecaster). He sounds like he's the missing link between Jimi Hendrix and Frank Marino. This sole Maypole album was originally released on the tiny Colossus back in 1970, and will do about hundred bucks on eBay (sometimes even more than two hundred!). It was the very first full-length album from a white male band in Baltimore, but back then nobody knew, because there wasn't any information written on this album. Nobody knew who or what this band was.

We're 35 years further and a lot wiser, just like the Gear Fab, the record label that is specialised in reissuing extremely rare rock records from the late sixties, early seventies, and wrote an informative biography in the booklet. Two band members couldn't edit this text on type errors etc, one of them just passed away a few months before this re-release, but the three surviving band members don't have to be ashamed of what they've recorded, mixed and delivered to the record label within three days, 35 years ago. According to a very honest Demian it should have sound a lot harsher and harder, because due to lack of recording time it never got the sound what they had intended. The two added bonus tracks, recorded prior to the album songs, shows that Demian didn't talk nonsense: especially the furious rocking 'Who Was She' beats with aggressive freshness that makes Sir Lord Baltimore a Sissy Madame.

'The Real' is not a unique gem in the obscure prog rock history, but for those who are into lost and long forgotten rare rock records (just like Boa, Majic Ship and Bump, which are also reissued by Gear Fab), this is another one to look out for. Preferably in mint state on Colossus, of course. Why the easy road (on Gear Fab), when there's a hard way?

                                 MaypoleMaypole (US,1970,re.2006)***°

Now and then a progressive rock group used a symbol which expresses its style or the focus of the group, like a kaleidoscope. For Baltimore band Maypole their symbolic expression became almost mystical, but not necessary as their lucky symbol. A maypole is a tall wooden pole, often erected with several long coloured ribbons suspended from the top, withmore natural ornaments around the top. Various local traditions did celebrations related with spring or other of nature's changes, with people dancing around the pole while holding the ribbons, thus making a pattern around the pole. This demanded a concentrated cooperation, while each of the participated characters intertwined this way with the energy of its neighbour, something which might have been the positive intention of this event. Band leader Dennis Tobell (Demian Bell) describes the story of Maypole in a similar way. He says that the history of the group evolved this way as if every character involved had its equal share, and where each participant seemed to turn his own life into a circus in which he felt himself to be inside the ride, which in this case was mostly with a frustrating result. The group and its improvisational skills however had shown a strong sound live, with a vibe and charisma that had a huge success during concerts, and also the album, despite all other circumstances, always was searched for very hard in the collector's market since it was released on Colossus Records. The band only existed a few years, from late 1969 up to 1972, when they disbanded, noticing that the music business began to be more interested in promoting disco mostly, and no longer any new rock bands (in America).
A second significance the group gives to the maypole, according to the liner notes of Paul Welsh, is the inner need to let the natural feeling flow, just like the people who participated with the maypole event did, even in times of puritan New England. While he says literature is about this feeling, it is especially music that since the Beatles' popularity can express this inner expression, without always needing a certain level of understanding, which literature requests. At the same time the group tends to use techniques of literature in its lyrics, in combination with the communicative live experience rock element.
The music on the album was recorded live in the studio in about two takes, more or less like firstly side A and then side B. The production made the music smoother and less raw than was intended, and the group was disappointed at the time the LP came out. While the album starts with sweet harmony vocals of a late '60's rock feel, the group tends towards the harder and heavier edge of psychrock. Just here and there great Hendrix-like guitars improvise along with the songs.

Two interesting, fitting pre-Maypole recordings were added as bonus tracks. "Who was She" is rawer hard rock, while "All in the Past" is bluesier rock, with great guitars.


Maypole - The Real

This classic 1971 album amplifies just how loud and talented this Baltimore band was. Featuring the song writing talents of Dennis Tobell and Paul Welsh, their music is hard and tasteful rock with driving organs and screaming guitars. Now featuring 2 previously unreleased bonus tracks from their pre-Maypole era. Maypole mixes psych with heavy rock and adds some prog sub-themes to leaven the mix. Full of interesting ideas and some fabulous Hendrix-inspired lead guitar from founder Tobell.The bands mission statement: "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". Given that the album is famous for being rare, clearly the band`s desire to reach an "unlimited audience" was not achieved, which is unfortunate as the record is well recorded, musically interesting and reminiscent of other heavy psych outfits such as Bubble Puppy
THE REAL - Maypole(Gear Fab Records)

From the standpoint of a mission statement, Baltimore, Maryland’s Maypole was anathema to the rock and roll ethic and to their own professed vision. Drummer Paul Welsh likened their musical philosophy to the Puritan movement of the 1600s in that they chose to secede from the alleged prevailing conformity extant in that culture in favor of self indulgence guided only by the whim of the moment.

In reality, the late 1960s - early 1970s hippie movement was rife with hypocrisy. Self expression was encouraged only inasmuch as it fell in step with the narrow parameters of the movement in terms of dress, politics and musical format. Valid art from previous eras was routinely and adamantly dismissed out of hand on the mere basis of chronology; a sure sign that concession to prevailing trends was of greater importance than artistic integrity. As such, the fact that this 1970 Colossus label album succeeded on an aesthetic level is a paradox. 

Guitarist Dennis Tobell (Demian Bell explains Maypole’s unlikely triumph in the sleeve notes of this CD reissue thusly: “It was the music that we felt and believed in.....We played with power and conviction”.

Indeed, it is that power and conviction that allowed Maypole to produce a gem of an album that eschewed the coveted verse/chorus format and yet managed to retain observer interest on the basis of its sheer intensity. The twelve tracks that comprised the original Colossus vinyl album (plus the two early 1970 bonus tracks) herein demonstrate a cohesiveness that somehow managed to break through from the limitations of self-indulgence and instead gave credence to the potential of the do it yourself ethic.

According to Tobell, the band’s career was short circuited by mismanagement at Colossus Records and the advent of disco. More accurately, Colossus’ priorities were previously established elsewhere. The label made tremendous impact on the American charts in 1969 - 1970 as the U.S. recording home of Dutch superstars the Shocking Blue, the Tee Set and the George Baker Selection, each of whom scored a number one single for the label. And when Maypole finally called it a day in 1972, disco was still roughly three years away. Ironically, so was the punk rock and new wave movement, which made Maypole a rare exception by virtue of its inclusion on the short list of acceptable bands from the immediate post-Woodstock era.

Sadly, the demands of the band’s lifestyle eventually took their toll on Maypole’s founding members. Drummer Paul Welsh committed suicide in 1988. Singer and  Percussionist Kenny Ross died in May 2005.  Only Tobell, rhythm guitarist Steve Mace and John Nickel remain from the original lineup.

But on the positive side, Tobell has vowed to keep Maypole’s legacy alive. To that effect (and as the band's principal songwriter), he is planning a collection of new Maypole material in the coming months. In view of the ongoing interest in the band’s 1970 debut, perhaps the Maypole’s early struggles to promote “self expression” will at last reap more than just artistic dividends.
 KFJC On-Line Reviews

Maypole - “Real, The ” - [Anopheles Records]

Dropping some interesting bombs into the mindmeld of firedaisy rock,
indeed there’s some sort of nuclear blast on the lead-off track
and at other times a reverb buster gets cut loose for a couple of
beats. Check the album cover for a slice of 1970, flip it over and
you see everyone sings on this. A good sign, as is a nest of Who’s
Next calibre rock und hoople before Sister Disco steamrolled the
unsuspecting long-haired boys and girls. Paul Welsh not only sings
but kinda plays melodic drums on this, if you know what I mean.
His hi-hat often whispers, “pssst.” Definite rock histrionics get
yer mental fog machine fired up. Even the old open-string trill
riff gets buzzed into “Johnny!” They even pump fake you with the
“rock ballad” intro on “You Were” but again a nice bit o’ bashing
works its way into the up-phase of that number. Yeah some songs
have “Yeah” in the lyrics. Man (if I may address you in the proper
vernacular), this is 1970! A lot of bands would hear stuff on the
radio and think, we’re better than that. Maypole was indeed, but
as the detailed liner notes describe, and the lyrics prophecy
“This scene for me fell through, for only a year but
the time I spent wondering I could have born another man”
Alas, Maypole often got the shaft, still this is enjoyable as a
time capsule / holy grail / hot R Baltimore. Definitely a shadow
hovers nearby of what could have been; mention of more ragged and
improvised (yet still loosely tight) live sets beckon a rare boot?

-Thurston Hunger




LP (12"/10" Album)


Release date: 10/11/2006


Catalog no.: ANOPHEL0000011

Title: The Real
Format: LP
Label: Anopheles
Country: USA
Price: $22.00
"Anopheles Records is proud to announce our latest archival release, the first ever authorized, high quality vinyl LP reissue of Baltimore, Marylands Maypole, whose sole album, The Real, was recorded in three days, July 1970, and released in early 1971, shortly before their label folded, dooming the album to stillborn status commercially at the time, and collector want list status today. The LP is an ambitious, 50-minute feast of tight harmonies, powerful arrangements, fluid improvisation, and flat out great songs, and serves as a touchstone for twin guitar-driven, West Coast-styled psychedelia, soaring power pop, and blistering hard rock - some even call it prog - everyone wants a piece of the Great One. If youve been looking for an LP to complete an imaginary trilogy with S.F. Sorrow and Parachute, then this is your tonic. The stature of Maypole has been muddied by the previous CD reissues, but this LP edition gets it right. Featuring state of the art remastering and pressing, a high quality full color tip on jacket featuring original artwork, and a full color insert loaded with lyrics, photos, and complete historical notes by Maypole founder, Dennis Tobell (Demian Bell), this is the closest to classic psychedelia Anopheles Records has delved in to date, and were glad we didnt settle for something second rate - Maypole is The Real." - Anopheles.

Howdy folks: things have been moving very quickly within the pitched
axis of the Anopheles Atrium of late. As a matter of fact, the tempo
has been so urgent and vital these last few weeks, that our long
awaited LP release, Maypole: The Real, went spinning off the assembly
line before we had a chance to update the Anopheles
website! So, rather than wait for technology to move at its own speed,
I request that you and yours tune in live and direct here in PLAIN TEXT
to all the Anopheles news for October 2006. The updated website will
follow suit shortly. In the meantime, you can see the front cover to
our latest release in this online photo album I've uploaded:

or see it online at my eBay store (jukeboxphantom) here:

though you'll save a buck if you order it direct from this list.

The Anopheles 011 LP reissue has been a drawn out process, somewhat, as
I was first contacted by surviving Maypole co-founder, Dennis Tobell(Demian Bell),
in August of 2005, as he was looking to get the Maypole music
circulating again, and had heard about my label and my interest in his
LP (originally given a "stillborn" release, as issued by the Colossus
label in early 1971) via a post of mine on an online music forum.  I
learned that the band was from Baltimore, the same place (though a
slightly earlier time) as George Brigman. I also later found out that
George had even auditioned to play with Dennis Tobell (under the stage
name Denny Romans) in the mid-70s, though nothing came of their musical
relationship then. The music of Maypole is dear to my heart. To call it
timeless would be missing the broader point. It is of its own time,
most assuredly, but to experience it now, one gets a taste of the
bittersweet echo that encompasses a dichotomy (of sorts) that exists
within the realization of the group's dreams at the time; i.e., the
concrete product, the finished form as LP, found in the process of
recording a great album (though made under duress and mismanagement, in
fact, the band was disappointed with the hurried recording at the time,
but I think it's ok to call it "classic", now), yet still, many more
unfulfilled aspirations from the perspective of their original
inspiration and goal, to reach an unlimited audience with the "Real",
something they believed was to be found in the universal language of
music, best experienced in the here and now, as close to the original
fire as possible.

In some kind of sobering, painful poignancy, Dennis lost his beloved
mother, Faye McKelden, in May of this year, and asked me to add a
dedication to her on this release, as she was always a huge support, an
anchor, to his art and ambitions. I've been proud and pleasured to do
my best at preserving Maypole's legacy to date, that sole LP, recorded
in July 1970, and first issued almost 37 years ago. In the fifteen
years I've been running the Anopheles label, the scope has slowly
worked its way backwards in time, though never quite touching the '60s
of my birth. I was born in early '66, and I was probably just starting
to notice "long haired kids" and "crazy loud music" by 1970, and I most
certainly wouldn't have understood Maypole at age 4 or 5. That said,
I'm confident that some of you can step along that protracted, twisted
but very real space-time continuum via this release, as the NOW of
yesterday and today has many reconnecting echoes, at least for those
among you who are not "phonographically challenged", and whom (I hope)
will continue to enjoy Maypole beyond today's partially visible
tomorrow, for what it is - great rock and roll, operating on a musical
and lyrical level that delivers on all the promise of the best rock of
the '60s, that quickly fell out of favor commercially during that
so-called "golden era" (which was only golden for a few, to be honest),
all the while, offering musical goods on a primal level. We've created
a package which, in my opinion, exceeds the original release in some
ways, in particular, the cover art, which was washed out and second
generation in appearance on the original LP, now restored to its
originally intended glory (just like the fantastic original Wilson
McKlean painting used for the cover), its rich and vibrant colors
positively glowing, with correct song listings in place (botched on the
original back cover) and band member credits (they were left off the
original back cover by their crooked manager) to complete the picture.
The insert, not included with the original release, contains photos and
lyrics and thorough notes from Dennis and myself. And the sound is as
close to the original (at over fifty minutes, an eternity in loud rock
vinyl mastering terms) as possible, and I can thank John Golden at
Golden Mastering ( for the effort he made at
making it so. So, dig in, and I hope that you will find enjoyment and
pleasure in the wide array of analog and digital sound nuggets
collected in the current Anopheles Records catalog offered below this
month. - Karl

MAYPOLE: “The Real” (Gear Fab - Clearspot)

 Maypole were a Baltimore outfit formed around 1969, and featured five vocalists, DennisTobell (Demian Bell)(guitar/keyboards), Steve Mace(2 nd guitar), Paul Welsh (drums), Kenny Ross (percussion) and John Nickel (bass). While Maypole is most commonly associated with seventies rock, the influences reflected through their music are varied and enlighten the genre’s diversity. Good production as well. (‘71), so I can recommend this album to you with great enthusiasm! Yardbirds/Cream-influenced hard rock (“Show me the way” and “Comeback”) with psych and prog remnants, has a great immediacy to it and lots of ripping Hendrix-fuzz (the single “Johnny”); problem for me is a sometimes operatic voice a la Fantasy’s Paul Petley(“Under a wave”).Plagued by setbacks, poor distribution, and lack of record company interest in their second album, they called it quits only a little over a year later, leaving only the one LP which has recently been resurrected by Gear Fab with two bonus tracks of their pre-Maypole period. In short, this is a fine reissue that most fans of the seventies heavy prog sound with lots of soul should enjoy.


Nailing Smoke to the Wall - 2006 in review, part 2  reviews -Tony Dale And let me just take a moment now to mention the official reissue of Maypole's The Real LP on Anopheles which comes in vinyl only. The version that dropped on CD on Radioactive a year before is a total fraud to be avoided at all costs. Anyway, Maypole is something of a mystery; the Baltimore natives released one album in ‘71. Think Big Star, Pretty Things and the like. It's simply one of the rawest and most ambitious heavy psych/power pop hybrids I've ever heard. I hope more people catch on, and something tells me they will. There were a lot of amazing reissues this year, but this is the only one I'm mentioning here.

Fantastic psych with some great guitar jams, especially the opening two tracks.  "Come Back" and "In the Beginning" are also good.  Really the album has few weaknesses, but it would have garnered a perfect rating had the band brought in maybe an organ, keyboard or a horn on a few songs.  The bass, guitar and drums are really some of the best I have heard in a while.  Excellent album.

 HAD THE TAPE FOR AGES BUT HAD NEVER SEEN COVER.  WELL....ALBUM'S AS GOOG AS THE COVER ..I THINK, ALISTAIR  THANK YOU WHOEVER UPLOADS THESE VISUAL JEWELS, I'M HAVING A FEAST! A nice mixture of psych, heavy rock and even a little prog from this Baltimore area band. Almost impossible to find on vinyl, the fine folks at Gear Fab records has done a splendid job on the cd reissue. 
Maypole cd's were released on two labels Gear Fab and Radioactive. I own both and the Gear Fab releases "The Real" is the superior one and includes two extra bonus tracks. Plus Radioactive Records is now out of business. Good stuff!!


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Average Customer Review:
Number of Reviews: 4
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1-4 of 4



Excellent Progressive Album...., January 6, 2007
Reviewer:Psych fan - See all my reviews
I just happened to purchase this CD because I am a great fan of Radioactive Records reissues. This album, released in 1970, blasts away other rock/progressive bands of the day. Most of the songs segue into each other like a concept album. This particular record, like "S. F. Sorrow" by the Pretty Things and "The Only Truth" by Morley Grey, can be listened through from start to finish. Expert playing coupled with moody/intellectual lyrics abound. The guitarist at times surpasses Clapton. Highly recommended for any serious psych/progressive fan.

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Maypole- incredible local maryland 70's band, December 31, 2006
Reviewer:B. Holmes "Maypole Fan" (Baltimore , Maryland) - See all my reviews
I am from Maryland and happened upon this guys on a local TV station performing(Kerby Scott show 1970). Needless to say they knocked me out. I rushed out to buy their one and only album in 1970. I still have the original copy. I also attended my high school homecoming dance where they played in 1971. I thought they were long forgotten until I see the reissue onto CD of their work. WELL.. worth the wait. Now I also have the original album on CD. SOUNDS better than ever! I was so happy to hear this music again. The hooks and the drumming is top form. This album has stood the test of time.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful:This is it folks, the real stuff!!, October 11, 2006
Reviewer:Greg Horn "guildx700" (waterford, wisconsin USA) - See all my reviews
It simply does not get any better than this for 1970's rock. Superb song writing, masterful playing skills, wonderful composition.

The entire CD(record)is fantastic. I found them many years ago in the cutout bin, what a treasure.
A must buy for anyone interested in the 1970's rock scene's mainly unknown but stellar bands. Too bad this was their only release. Buy it now, I predict it will again vanish and be a collectible now in CD form.

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful:Pitifully unknown, shockingly good, May 13, 2006
Reviewer:D. Hartley (Seattle, WA USA) - See all my reviews
Certain hardcore circles of 70's rock obscura enthusiasts have kept the fires burning bright enough to hold prices close to the century mark on coveted vinyl copies of this title-until now, that is! (BACK! Back to your eBay purgatory, you highway robbers-BACK I say!!) Fans of melodic hard rock delivered with crack musicianship won't want to miss this long overdue CD reissue of Maypole's sole LP release. The music is at times reminiscent of the "Tommy"-era Who, or early Wishbone Ash, delivered with an air of self-assured confidence and panache rare for a debut effort (it's really too bad that it had to end here as well). The real delight for me was the liner notes-written by the main songwriter/vocalist/guitarist, that delivers a thorough history of the band. One of the things that fed the mystique of this album over the years was the fact that the original album cover featured only a painting of the band, with no mention of personnel lineup. As it turns out, this was not so much by marketing design (a la the "mystery" of Klaatu) but due to the fact that the album was rushed out without final approval by the artists (much to the lead singer's chagrin). As it turns out, this was the least of the band's troubles. The liner notes reveal a tragic history rivalling the Badfinger story, with its tales of suicides, fatal illnesses, bad management and (of course) record company weasels. The good news is that the band is apparently reforming and planning an eventual tour, which would be a nice coda for these talented chaps. Recommended!
The Real LP

Continuing in a tradition of fine vinyl collectibles from the bottomless well of taste that is Karl Ikola’s Anopheles imprint (Debris, George Brigman, Twinkeyz) comes this lost rock concept notable by Baltimore’s Maypole, barely issued by Colossus in 1971 and all but lost to the buying public in that label’s collapse. Those who know, know that music created in and around 1970 is generally “thee shit,” it being a banner year for stars to align for all manner of heavy/psych/proto-metal/dark pop, and in that sense, Maypole succeeds completely; there’s still the sense of creating a work more grandiose than is expected (conceptual themes, songs running together into side-long suites, mentions of how the Beatles raised the bar for their kind of music, etc.) and while there are strains of lofty sentiment here a la S.F. Sorrow or the first Gracious! album, these guys are clearly into their own thing. The liner notes speak of a band that only wanted to be free, and was cursed by uninformed decisions, bad business, and personal tragedies – while completely ignoring that the listening public typically has no attention span for something this layered and progressive – it’s very hard to get a bead on all that wallowing when listening to the album. It’s a definite keeper, with great, ragged U.S. garage tendencies stretched to accommodate loftier song structures, with some surprisingly heavy moments like “Look at Me” and “Johnny” that tactfully avoid the easy answers that a more knuckledragging, besotted bunch (like Dust) might have produced. They also make the complete bum-out track work in their favor, in the album’s bittersweet closer “Stand Alone.” Like alll Anopheles product, this is a beautiful reproduction, the album receiving its first-ever solid remastering job, pressed on audiophile clear vinyl and housed in a beautiful tip-on sleeve repro. It’ll be gone before you know it, so get in there. CD version is on Gear Fab Records.