Oldies rock'n'roll evolved out of blues, but whereas blues bent everything down, both rhythmically and tonally, the Oldies brought everything up. Both in terms of beat and in terms of tone, the old school of rock was ebullient and boppy. The... [more]
Oldies rock'n'roll evolved out of blues, but whereas blues bent everything down, both rhythmically and tonally, the Oldies brought everything up. Both in terms of beat and in terms of tone, the old school of rock was ebullient and boppy. The music is round, but not grand or even bulbous; it is round like little soap bubbles - delicate and light. Whereas blues tends to drag and to drawl, early rock moved with a spriteful step, uplifting and energetic. Neither langorous nor lethargic, this music is crisp; here the soul doesn't wallow and whine - it chuckles and bites.
Nor do the oldies share the same mood as Classic rock. Classic rock tends to carry on, adorn itself to excess - it strives for the sublime. But the oldies are the precursor to modern pop: these songs are meticulously contrived, tightly woven, crisply composed from beginning to end. Think of the beginnings and ends to Chuck Berry's songs: they whorl up and spire down in cheerful, almost trite lines of guitar. They do not give the sense of infinite permutation and perambulation - they do not fade out. They end, and signal an end before their end. This is the sign of a form of music carefully controlled, presided over with scrutinous attention to detail.
It's true that Elvis let his lips hang low at times. At other times he snarled. But between that upward twinge and that downward droop he punctuated perfect rock: a delicate balance between the tight and the loose. Consider the way the man gestured: his legs and his arms would fly out, then suddenly snap back; he extended himself only to pull himself back in. And his pompadour says everything: that high, lofting head of hair was always about to fall down in disarray - but no, it never really did. This is not even to begin to speak of the pelvis.
So while the soul of blues was not diffused by oldies rock, it was indeed transformed. It was brightened, tailored to suit a different mood. The Oldies took the slow, drawn-out energy of blues and rolled it up into a tight bundle of quick, effervescent rhythms and tones. [show less]