Oh Boy Records, the independent, family-run label started by John Prine and his longtime manager Al Bunetta in 1981, will celebrate its 40th anniversary this year. As part of the celebration, the label plans to release a documentary celebrating its legacy, a trailer of which is available now. In the trailer, fans get a brief refresher on the history of Oh Boy as told by its artists, employees, and even Prine himself.
The clip begins with the late singer-songwriter explaining the company’s name. “I’d like to have my own record company and call it Oh Boy, and she said ‘why?’ And I said well, when things are going real good I can just go ‘oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, what a year we’ve had.’ And when things ain’t so good you go, ‘oh boy,'” Prine says.
The film hosts archival interviews with Prine, musicians on the label including Todd Snider, and Prine’s family who are integral parts of the company including his widow Fiona Whelan Prine, who serves as president, and her son Jody Whelan, a managing partner. “He didn’t necessarily see Oh Boy as being a record company in the real sense of the word, that it was going to make millions of dollars and make all of these executives rich,” Whelan Prine notes in the trailer. “No, it was a vehicle for good music and, to that end, as long as there are people who want to listen to good music, who will value the singer-songwriter, then we will keep on going.”
The film also hosts music from Oh Boy artists such as Tré Burt, Dan Reeder, Kelsey Waldon, Arlo McKinley, and more. “It was always about the song, it was always about the singer, it was always about the people who told other people about that singer and that song,” Al Bunetta’s brother Peter said. “And those guys did it better than anybody.”
In addition to the documentary, which will be released on Oh Boy Records’ YouTube channel later this year, the company will celebrate its anniversary on a weekly basis by highlighting different artists. This first week of the celebration features Nashville’s Bis-Quits, about whom Oh Boy Records have released a mini-documentary. The label also has numerous special releases and reissues planned, including a 50th-anniversary box set of Prine’s self-titled debut.
Watch a trailer for the documentary on Oh Boy Records and keep an eye on the company’s YouTube page each week for new content.
Oh Boy Records – 40th Anniversary Documentary (Teaser)
[Video: Oh Boy Records]
The Story of the Bis-Quits – Oh Boy Records
[Video: Oh Boy Records]
[H/T Brooklyn Vegan]