Week 13 – Shooting Goschen’s Cocks Up

Now if you’ll listen for a while, a story I will tell you,
And if you don’t attention pay, I’m sure I can’t compel you

Another poaching song from the great George ‘Pop’ Maynard of Copthorne in Sussex. The song was apparently written by his friend Fred Holman, of Tatsfield in Surrey, who would write out the words for the price of a pint. It tells of a true incident which occurred on estates owned by the Goschen family near New Addington in Surrey. In time-honoured fashion, Fred used an older tune for his composition: “The Barking Barber” or “Bow Wow Wow” was popular in the 1780s,  published by Chappell in 1858, and sufficiently well-known to be parodied in Alice in Wonderland (thanks to Musical Traditions and www.folklorist.org/ for this information).

Pop Maynard was no stranger to poaching. As an old man he told Ken Stubbs

I should go out again if I had my time over again, before I should let my family go short of anything… I came home and I had my tea… and there was Arthur and Nellie wanted a pair of shoes bad, so I said to my wife, I said, “After I’ve had my tea, Polly, I’ll go out and see if I can catch a few rabbits, to see if I can earn they youngsters a pair of shoes”… So I went across the common into the field aside of the woods, and I pitched up my net twice and I catched six rabbits each time: that makes a dozen; and I took them home and I said, “There you are, Polly, now you can take they rabbits to old (the butcher) in the morning and you can get ten bob for them.” Tenpence each, then, good rabbits. And I said, “With ten shillings you can buy them both a pair of shoes” – so you could at that time.

(Journal of the English Folk Dance & Song Society, December 1963)

I dedicate this one to my great friend Adrian, an incorrigible smoker, who always refers to the song as “Baccy all the while”.

Shooting Goschen’s Cocks Up

2 Comments to “Week 13 – Shooting Goschen’s Cocks Up”

  1. Could I just ask about your recording setup? Your voice comes over with real depth & texture; there’s a hint of reverb (I’ve got a mental image of you singing in the kitchen) but not at the expense of clarity. I’m deeply impressed, in other words – my own recordings run the gamut from “voice bounces off the walls, sounds like I’m singing in a bucket” to “voice drops dead, sounds like I’m singing in a cardboard box”.

    • Thanks for your kind comments Phil. The recording quality is probably more luck than judgment to be honest – I don’t know a lot about these things. Spencer the Rover was intended for possible commercial release so that was done, not actually in a proper recording studio, but by a proper sound recordist with proper commercial recording gear. Apart from that, I’ve done all the recordings at home on a minidisc recorder. Some were done in my bedroom (carpeted and cluttered), and others in what we rather grandly call our music room (laminate floor, a bigger room, and a piano, which when I’m singing sometimes seems to be resonating quietly!). These rooms should have very different acoustics, but I’m not sure I really notice it on the recordings. I then use Magix Audio Studio to create the MP3s. Haven’t applied any effects except on this track, where I applied a little bit of the program’s brightness setting.
      I seem to remember that the mic I use was not inexpensive, so that must help. It’s a Sony ECM-MS907 – no idea if they’re still available.
      My eldest son has a Tascam home recording setup, so when he’s home from University I want to have a go recording on that, to see if it’s easier / better. We’ll see.

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