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”.
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.
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.