Tradewinds "5" Inc.
Origin: Bismarck, North Dakota, USA - Winnipeg, Manitoba
At this time, every large town in North Dakota had a top drawing band. Some of these groups included: The Embermen Five-Minot, N.D., The Cornerstones-Grand Forks, N.D., The Lost Souls (Liberty Records) -Dickinson, N.D. and of course we all know that Bobby Vee called Fargo home.
By the time 1965 had come around, the capitol of North Dakota, Bismarck, had close to 75-plus local bands playing out of their garages. The top act was unquestionably, the Tradewinds Five, Inc.
The group got their start in 1963 when a group of kids came together to form their first band, their name, The Bel Aires. The group included Vern Peterson-rhythm guitar, Rick Miller-bass, Pat Majors-drums and Richard Torrance- lead guitar.
By 1964, a name change was underway for the band to the Tradewinds. At that time, they added Rip Cullins on keyboards, so the name became the Tradewinds Five. Soon they added a two-man horn section and their newer name became, The Tradewinds Five, Inc. The horn players were Mark VanHorn and Tom Weiser.
The Tradewinds Five, Inc., was the first band in North Dakota to create a horn and show group from the mold of the Fabulous Flippers. By being the first, it meant their reputation grew statewide.
They appeared all across North Dakota, South Dakota, parts of Iowa and Minnesota. In addition they were huge draws in southern Canada, especially the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba.
One of the reasons they were such big stars in Winnipeg was very few groups in Canada had adopted the show-band format with stage-dance routines, matching suits and of course, killer blue-eyed soul music.
The band was signed by one of Canada’s largest booking agencies, The Hungry Eye Agency of Winnipeg and their Franklin Records recording label.
Now keep in mind, this was North Dakota. On many weekends you may need to drive 300-plus miles for a dance, then turn around and drive another 400-plus miles for a Saturday night job and another 300-plus miles to get back home. Bands like the Tradewinds Five, Inc. were true road warriors. Think what it must have been like driving across North Dakota in February pulling a trailer of band gear on roads constructed for 1966 traffic flow.
The band put out six incredible records. One recorded in Minneapolis, one in Rochester, and four in Winnipeg, Canada. All the records are excellent and they include: “It Must Be Love/Day Is Passing” (Fox Records 421), “Come On Alright/While I’m Away” (Reaction Records 1006), “Get Down With It/Love Makes The World Go Round” (Franklin 617), “Get Down With It/Love Makes The World Go Round” (Ariola 14098) a German release with a picture sleeve, “Get Down With It/It’s a Wonder” (Frankie 138) released in the Netherlands, also with the picture sleeve and “Be Sure/I’ve Got To Love You All The Time” (Franklin 627).
Their recording of “Get Down With It,” ended up being very popular in Europe, being picked up for release by many European labels, including the highly respected Ariola Records in Germany.
The Tradewinds Five, Inc. would break up and disband in 1969 with all the band members going different directions in music. Some of the guys would join musicians from Winnipeg and form Goldstreet.
Richard Torrance would move on to California and become one of the most prolific recording artists of the early 70’s with seven LP’s being released nationally, including such labels as Capitol, Shelter, and Phillips.
The Tradewinds Five, Inc. did travel to our Hollyhock Ballroom FIVE times in the 1960’s.
Maybe you were one of the lucky ones to have experienced the show of the Tradewinds Five, Inc. – Live. I know I wish I had been one of them!
Until Next Month
Take Care & Remember The Music
Tom Tourville has been writing about Midwest rock & roll for close to 30 years and has published over 25 books based on Midwest rock music history. His book, “Minnesota Rock
Tom Weisser: keyboards, saxophone, rhythm guitar, vocals
Mark Van Horn: lead vocals, trombone
Richard Torrance: lead guitar
Pat Majors: drums
Rick Miller: bass, vocals