I’m only speaking for myself but I’ve never liked this tune. It always seems to seep out of the bongo/dulcimer section of a session.
The Convenience Reel
I prefer the other name this tune commonly goes by, The Boys of Sligo, but everyone in my neck of the woods calls it the Convenience Reel. It’s been recorded by Dervish (on their cd The Boys of Sligo) and Laura Risk (Greenfire).
This is a fairly straight forward tune once you can keep the three parts distinct in your head. Lots of room for variations…try playing the first and second measures of the A Part as |dA (3AAA dA (3AAA|, and the first measure of Part B can be played |d~f3 d~f3|. I like to hang on that long "a" at the start of Part C, sliding into it from a quarter tone below and holding it for a dotted quaver. An alternate ending for Part C is |~f3 a gfed|cABc d3 A| to get back into Part A.
We play this in a set that starts with the Convenience, then into Dinky’s, the Glory Reel, and John Mhosey McGinley’s. It also goes nicely after the Morning Dew.
Okay, so it’s not one of my all-time favorites either, but it IS a common session tune and therefore handy to know (unless you use it as an excuse to go refill your pint). Brad’s right though—there’s something flakey and new age about this one. Frankly, I posted it as an antidote to all the more difficult tunes that have come forward on this site lately, trying to offer something for everyone. And to wash the Convenience aftertaste out of our mouths, I posted The Crooked Road to Dublin. Have I redeemed myself?
I know this tune as the Convenience Reel. The story goes that it got that name because it was taught to the members of the House Band in a hallway outside a bathroom! Appropriately enough, it is also known as "Knock on the Door".
Convenience/unusual session venue
I was at the All-Ireland Fleadh in Ennis in 1977 and one of the musicians I met up with that week-end was John Skelton of the "House Band" , although he was playing with the London-Irish band "Shegui" at the time. On the Saturday I heard heard this tune played by Ulcan Masterson of Dundalk in the Senior Whistle competition (he was third, but I thought he should have won).
On the Sunday evening it started to rain, and all the pubs were full by this time, so apparently a session started up in the public toilet. John was there and got this tune from Ulcan, took it back to London, and recorded it with "Shegui" as "The Convenience Reel", and that name has stuck to it ever since. I think Ulcan Masterson wrote it himself.
Following on from Kenny’s 2003 thread
Yes it was written by Olcan (not Ulcan) Masterson, formerly of Belfast, now resident in Westport, Co. Mayo.
Ah, I have picked this up from Karen Tweed’s version, where she says the start is often confused, some with the A, some with B, and some with C. I’ve found a few online versions, similar to the one here, and they have the A part the same as Karen Tweed’s "C" part, then as the "B" part they have what Karen puts as "A", and then Karen’s "B" part is the same as the "C" in the online version. Strange. She plays this following Dinkey’s Reel, and in that setting I like her part ordering, but as someone above mentioned playing this BEFORE Dinkey’s, I think the C-A-B arrangement may be better, who knows. 🙂
Order of parts
Olcan Masterson played the 3 parts in the same order as posted here.
Davey McNevin recorded this as "McDonagh’s" on Rattlin’ Banjos but there are a couple of strange titles given to fairly popular tunes on that album.
On the Abbey ceili band album, it’s called The D Reel. Although I believed they called it that simply because they didn’t have a name and it was in D. I’ll just edit the details on the album.
B.A.N.J.O is its name!
The Convenience, X:2
Just playing around with the final phrase a bit. The jumps to high A are a bugger on the pipes.
The Convenience, X:3
As heard at sessions around Austin and Dallas, TX, from Ken & Peg Fleming among others.
Re: The Convenience
Olcan lives in Mayo now, but he used to spend a lot of time in Houston Texas.
Between 1983 and 1987 I was living in Austin and would get to play with Olcan sometimes
(and I also visited him in Westport). Olcan told me that his original name for this reel was
"Mark Mcglaughlin’s Favorite".
Re: The Convenience
Olcan was a member of the group "Cuchulainn", who made 1 CD - see link above. The recording is now available on "iTunes". This reel is in the last selection, so if you want to hear the tune played by its’ composer, you can buy the track. I think I may even have a tape recording of him playing it in the 1977 Senior whistle competition. I seem to remember he was placed third, but I thought he should have won.
Incidentally, apology for getting Olcan’s name wrong, but the fault was down to Comhaltas, not me, as his name was spelled "Ulcan" in the Fleadh programme.
Re: The Convenience
I have a funny path to this tune. Reading through the We Banjo 3 tune book, I ran across it and likes it. I did some research and found this post. After looking up Olcan I realize he is the fiddle player leading a Session I sat in on in Westport. I only recorded one tune that night, and it was this tune. A further twist, I’m headed to Dallas to a music camp led by Ken Fleming.