RIP OFF RECORDS

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Well-known local producer George Doherty formed this label back in 1978. Doherty was responsible for the production on many of the earlier N. Irish punk releases, including Big Time Rudi’s classic debut 45 on the Good Vibes label and the Outcasts first single Frustration on IT Records. George had been working for Emerald Music, founded in 1964 by Mervyn Solomon who had been the first person to record both Rory Gallagher and Van Morrison. George recalls how the label came about “It all came about in 1978, I went up to the boss Mervyn Solomon and told him that I wanted to record a couple of new groups. He initially refused but I insisted and suggested that I form my own label. After some consideration he phoned me back, he gave me £500 and told me that when that was finished, I was finished, that’s how Rip Off Records started”.

Rip-off never attained the credibility or critical acclaim enjoyed by the Good Vibrations label as a lot of their acts had only tenuous links with the Punk scene. The label did however just miss out on a few fledgling acts such as The Moondogs, George Doherty takes up the tale “This guy Thomas Black, wanted me to record his band, they were called The Moondogs. He talked me into bringing them down to play in the studio. The deal was if I liked them, then they would sign a contract on the day. The Moondogs played two songs and I knew I wanted them”. The band laid down two backing tracks (no vocals), but never did sign the contract. The label were still responsible, however, for some notable releases including Pretty Boy Floyd And The Gems teen-sex anthem Sharon (B-side of The Instigator 7"), Lenny & the Lawbreakers suitably punked up version of the old Country classic Me and Bobby McGhee, and a highly collectable single by The Zipps.

The first ever N. Irish punk compilation album, Belfast Rock was released by Rip Off Records in 1978 and is notable for the inclusion of two songs by one of Northern Ireland’s earliest punk outfits - The Detonators (their only ever appearance on vinyl!) .The album also features two songs by Doherty’s own band - The Jumpers. Backing on the track was provided by various members of Pretty Boy Floyd and The Gems. Other artists on the label’s roster included the D.A Band. This band was in fact ‘The John Anderson Band’. The D stands for Doherty and the A stands for Anderson. George produced many of the labels recordings, ably assisted by Clive Culbertson as sound engineer. In fact Clive would go on to produce some of the later singles on the label, such as The Zipps, and The Tinopener’s single which was released on Logo Records.

Most Rip-Off releases came with picture sleeves. Around 50% of these were made from brown paper bags with the artwork printed over the bag, because it was cheap and gave the releases a ‘punkier’ D.I.Y look. Hard to get hold of, even when they were first released, a lot of Rip-Offs singles are now virtually impossible to track down and fetch high prices on internet auction sites. In recent times Sing Sing Records from NYC have plundered the vaults of Hyde Park Studios in Templepatrick and reissued some material from George Doherty’s label, including previously unreleased material by The Tinopeners, Alleycats, Minor Classics and The Faders. In 2007 Tokyo based 1977 Records issued two great CDs of Clive Culbertson material, spanning his solo career and his bands No Sweat/The Sweat. Some of these recordings include Rip- Off Records recordings.

 

 

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