“This is Dolly Parton’s uncle,” comes the announcement. Dolly Parton’s uncle walks on to the stage.
He does not look much like Dolly Parton, but I take his ‘uncle’ claim at face value, as everybody else in the band is a relative of Dolly Parton as well, and they are playing at Dollywood, the theme park owned by Dolly Parton (nb the name comes from taking ‘Hollywood’ and replacing the first bit with ‘Dolly’ as in ‘Dolly Parton’.)
“Good morning,” says Dolly Parton’s uncle.
The band plays some hits by Dolly Parton. They are very good, and the main vocalist – Dolly Parton’s first cousin – has a startlingly similar voice to the star herself. It does make you realise what a brilliant songwriter Dolly Parton is – and that she most definitely knows her way around a good pop tune.
There is an intermission, whilst Dolly Parton’s uncle talks about his charity, dedicated to restoring the prominence of the original American chestnut tree. Apparently, the Chinese chestnut tree was brought over to the country some years back, carrying with it some sort of tree germs that started killing the native population. The crowd grows angry at this news, everybody looking round the audience to see if there are any Chinese people there to raise this issue with. But there is happy news, in that scientists have worked out a way of saving the American tree. This mollifies the audience, and the music is resumed with a new song, written by Dolly Parton and Dolly Parton’s uncle, about the chestnut tree.
‘Oh chestnut tree,
Oh chestnut tree,
How lovely are your branches’
It is one of those great songs where immediately you feel a huge familiarity with the melody, and thus will probably last for centuries. The band finishes with that song that Whitney Houston did about always loving you, and ‘9-5’ which, let’s face it, are two of the best pop songs ever written, ever.
The band exits the stage to much deserved applause. The Toddler wants to play on the roundabout with large plastic ducks.