Monday, November 3, 2008

Great White North

Bob and Doug McKenzie
Great White North
Published in 1981 by Anthem Records
Re-released on CD in 1996 by Mercury Records

Imagine if Beavis and Butthead made an album. Now imagine that instead of two dumb American stereotypes on the album, imagine you have two dumb Canadian stereotypes. Thus you have Great White North.

A little background: Bob and Doug McKenzie were created because Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis were told by the CBC that SCTV needed more “Canadian Specific” content, which sounds dumb. This isn't true - that is an idea that is fucking stupid. This isn't done and is dumb, so Bob and Doug McKenzie were created as a kind of ‘fuck you’ to that idea by making segments with the most stereotyped idiotic Canadians they could think of, improvising their segments and putting not a huge amount of effort into it. Through the funny way the world works the characters became an accidental huge hit, and spawned the movie Strange Brew, some later Molson Ice and Pizza Hut commercials, and the embarrassing talking moose characters in Brother Bear.

It in particular, spawned this album, Great White North. The album is essentially what one would expect where Bob and Doug McKenzie make an album and thus a lot of it them, drinking, smoking, eating unhealthy food, giving their opinions of everything, and drinking some more.

It’s also very meta. They talk about themselves making the album and the process of making albums themselves. They talk specifically about how albums (in this case, the old vinyl discs) are made by taking old albums, erasing them, and then putting new grooves on them.

The highlight of the album has to be the song "Take Off" which is sung by Geddy Lee of the band Rush, in which Geddy Lee sings about taking off to the Great White North and Bob and Doug talk over a lot of the song.

There are also some really great bits in it, like Peter’s Donuts where they “go to a donut shop” but are aware that they aren’t really in a donut shop. Then they get a ticket for parking in the street and try to get out of it by giving the police donuts.

There’s the 12 Days of Christmas song which is full of replacements for the normal gifts the "true love gives" like instead of "a partridge in a pear tree" it is "a a tree," and "five golden tuques."

Overall, a fine album, even if the references to the album being on vinyl are a bit dated.

Available for purchase at or any other store that I am shamelessly not trying to earn revenue from.

Back Cover

Really small "Daily Hoser" that was part of the inside cover and difficult to read on the CD release. Obviously meant to be read as the inside of an LP.

1 comment:

Adam16bit said...

I picked this one up in High School, and was surprised such a thing existed. Sure, I heard the 12 Days of Christmas thing as a kid on the radio, but who knew there was more?

It's really amazing how few of these cash-in albums get made these days. Outside the likes of High School Musical, I mean... they did one for Ren & Stimpy, for Beavis & Butt-Head, and for Spongebob, but nothing seems aimed at the crowd who isn't aged for cartoons. (Or maybe it's all aimed at that crowd. I don't think anyone in their 20s is itching to laugh out loud at this album.)

Also, Doug & Bob had actual action figures made by McFarlane Toys several years ago. Slow sellers, but they're some of very few comedy-based toys which, along with Slap Shot and some Mike Meyers stuff, proves that comedy toys are largely Canadian in origin.

Oh, and for the nobody who will read this comment, Shellac did a bunch of Doug & Bob stuff in one of their live BBC/post-Peel Sessions shows you can download. Which is probably the last place I would ever expect to hear a reference to their little anthem thing short of, say, a funeral.