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Margaret Cho
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Margaret Cho

Margaret Cho, a dear friend of Bark’s, has just released her first comedy music album, Cho Dependent. She has offered our readers an exclusive free download for one of the album’s songs, “Hey Big Dog.” Margaret tells us that the inspiration for this song came from her wish “that humans and dogs could actually speak to each other and then sing together… the song is about people problems versus dog problems, and the idea that maybe we could solve these problems together.” For this song, go to margaretcho.com/chodependent and enter “Ralph” in the “your code” box. Enjoy!

Here’s a little more about Margaret’s foray into music, a natural progression for one who has continuously tested the boundaries of humor, politics and identity. A self-confessed music geek and longtime admirer of the parodist Weird Al Yankovic, Cho collaborated with a who’s who of musical friends including Grant Lee Phillips, Ani DiFranco and Ben Lee to create her 14 track album.

Cho Dependent shines with high musical production, catchy melodies, and Margaret’s characteristic wit—“to me, it’s still about jokes,” she assures. The songs range from “I’m Sorry,” a countrified “murder ballad” to “Calling in Stoned” featuring Tommy Chong (half of the famed Cheech & Chong comedy duo). The origin of “Hey Big Dog” began with a writing partnership with Patty Griffin, the acclaimed singer-songwriter, country music stalwart and fellow dog lover. The subject of the song is Cho’s dog Ralph. “As I wrote the lyrics to this song, I sat with my big boy Ralph and imagined what he would say to me if he could speak, what he would sing to me if he could sing. I stared in his root beer eyes, as he cocked his butterscotch blonde eyebrows one then the other and tried to decipher his thoughts,” Cho recalls. The song evolved, moving from guitar accompaniment to banjo, a more mournful interpretation that coincided with Ralph’s illness and eventual death. When fellow dog lover, Fiona Apple, heard the song performed live, an instant connection was born and a new duet partner. Add Ben Lee’s pitch perfect production, and the result is what Cho refers to as “Nashville meets Animal Planet.”

The song remains a tribute to Ralph, as well as an anthem to animal lovers everywhere. Margaret Cho’s album Cho Dependent is available online and at music stores, and you can catch her live as she performs around the country through the end of the year.

Want more Margaret? You can watch a 2008 interview Bark did with Margaret here.

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This article first appeared in The Bark,
Issue 61: Sept/Oct 2010

Margaret Cho: Lindsey Byrnes