Monday, 11 October 2010

Moody Manitoba Morning, indeed ! UPDATED

Kelwood, Manitoba's Alana Levandoski has done a remake of Boissevain, Manitoba's Rick Neufeld's Moody Manitoba Morning !

If you went to school in Manitoba back in the 70s and 80s you probably remember the song from music class and choir recitals. You've likely heard the 1969 hit version by The Five Bells, recently revived for the winter scenes in Guy Madden's 2007 film My Winnipeg.

I have to admit that the Bells' version never did much for me but the Levandoski version gives it a whole new life !

Winnipeg Free Press 'Leisure Magazine' Mar 1, 1969
Rick Neufeld was a 23 year-old folk singer-songwriter from Boissevain feeling homesick on a 6 month visit to England and Scandinavia in 1968 - 69. Upon his return to Manitoba he wrote Moody Manitoba Morning, referring to it as 'commercial folk'.

The Five Bells, who were actually a group of six, were a popular Montreal cover group looking to break into the recording industry. Moody Manitoba Morning was chosen as the B side to their first single Big City (1969). It was Moody Manitoba Morning, though, that became a national hit for them. The following year the group shortened their name to The Bells and released their first album and Moody Manitoba Morning was part of the package.

The Bells' greatest hit was Stay Awhile (1971) which topped the charts in Canada and went to number 7 in the U.S.. Fly Little Dove (1970) was another popular recording. A 'Best Of' collection was released in 2005.

For Neufeld, 1970 was an incredible year. Not only did 'Moody' get a second life with the The Bells’ album release, it was also featured prominently as part of the Manitoba Centennial Celebration events.

At the BMI Canada Annual Awards Dinner in May of that year Neufeld was one of a trio of Manitoba songwriters to receive awards. He got a Certificate of Merit and the main award went to Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman who just had an amazing string of hits with Laughing, No Time, These Eyes and Undun.

In 1975 he released an album called Prairie Dog then went on a tour. Neufeld also live-recorded his next album in 1975 at the Western Manitoba Centennial Auditorium in Brandon. The session was also taped by the CBC. On Manitobasongs, (released in 1978), Neufeld stuck to his roots and passion for the province. Songs included Brandontown, Boissevain Fair, Louis Riel and Flin Flon Gone. Manitobasongs would be his final album.

Neufeld continued on in the local music scene throughout the 1970s with his band Prairie Dog. Shows were sporadic through the 1980s. I noticed that he was recently in the lineup for the 2009 Harvest Sun Music Festival put on by Levandoski in her home town of Kelwood, Manitoba.

If you know more about the whereabouts of Rick Neufeld or where one can hear more of his Manitoba music please post a comment or send me an email: cassidy -at- mts -dot- net !

Thanks to some eBrandon forum members who helped me dig up some more info. Turns out Rick Neufeld Manitoba's "Stompin' Tom", composing songs about every region of the province !

From "CL":
'Around 1974 Neufeld released an album titled "Prairie Dog" that actually featured Burton Cummings, Bill Wallace and Garry Peterson of the Guess Who accompanying him. There's a song on the album titled "Souris River" all about Brandon and area and featuring the Guess Who backing him up http://ur1.ca/21576 '

Here's 'Flin Flon Gone': http://www.mocm.ca/Music/Title.aspx?TitleId=293483

This week in the Prime Times John Einarson catches up with the man in Whatever happened to...Rick Neufeld.


Anonymous said...

See Maureen Scurfield in WFP this week @ end of column -

mrchristian said...

Thanks, anon. A Manitoba folk singer ending up on Salt Spring Island ?! I should have guessed !

Anonymous said...

As a kid I knew John & Linda Einarson~ Good people. I knew Rick Neufeld. Glad to see that it's not lost history. Hope this finds all of you well happy, hearty & whole.
Colleen Holinaty was my name.

Anonymous said...

i can't believe he's still alive