From “The Rolling Stone Record Guide” published by Random House/Rolling Stone Press in 1979
Even the most music interested among us can sometimes get lost in all the different labels music journalists and record companies choose to put on recordings. This glossary may help you find your way in this label jungle. As you can see from the text above here this glossary is from 1979 and as this is a retro blog that works alright for me. Besides, any music styles that has emerged since then is of little interest to me, with the possible exception of neo-classic country. I’m sorry to say that dance, trance, hip-hop, rap and the rest simply don’t do it for me – Ted
Outlaw: The country music, somewhat influenced by rock but more directly traditional, developed by Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, among others, in the Seventies. Originally called outlaw because it represented a rebellion against the pop conventions Nashville had created, the music is now (and perhaps more properly) called progressive country, an elastic term that includes some performers (Kris Kristofferson) who are as much rock- and folk oriented as country, as well as doggedly anti-Nashville, tradition-rooted players like Tompall Glaser and Gary Stewart.
Philadelphia Sound: In the late Fifties and early Sixties, Philadelphia symbolized antirock, with its pantheon of teen idols (Fabian, Frankie Avalon. et al.) promoted to Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, originally broadcast from that city. But the city’s large black population always made it an R&B hot spot, and the one prominent local label, Cameo-Parkway, was responsible for some excellent dance records. notably Chubby Checker’s series of twist hits. In the late Sixties producers Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff began working with a variety of soul groups (e.g .the Intruders) first on their own Gamble Records and later as staff producers for Atlantic (where they did Wilson Pickett and Archie Bell and the Drells). After making a remarkable series of soul hits with Chicago-based Jerry Butler, Gamble and Huff formed their own company. Philadelphia International Records and in the Seventies this has been the stylistic equivalent of Motown in the Sixties with such enormously popular and imaginative artists as the O’Jays, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, Theodore Pendergrass and a number of others. Philadelphia International also became a major production complex making records for outside artists at the Sigma Sound studios with a staff of writers and producers much similar to Motown’s heyday. The Philly sound is now ornate and heavily rhythmic (everything verges on disco. though it is closer to pop than the Munich-style recordings of Donna Summer, for instance). Gamble and Huff’s only peer in Philadelphia was Thorn Bell. whose work-with the Delfonics paralleled their early work and whose later records with the Spinners parallels their contemporary productions. But Bell has now relocated in Seattle, though he still sometimes records in Philly.
Progressive Rock: Rock oriented to European classical methods or to technological experimentalism is sometimes referred to as progressive though if this be progressive, Little Richard is Mona Lisa. Important progressive rock groups include King Crimson, Roxy Music, Yes, Emerson Lake and Palmer and most of the better known European bands (Focus, Tangerine Dream etc.).
Psychedelic: See Acid Rock.
Pub Rock: Late Sixties-early Seventies English phenomenon in which several interesting, creative rock groups (most notably Ducks Delux and Brinsley Schwarz) played in pubs (English barrooms) because of their lack of success in more established rock venues. While such bands did not have a genuinely common musical base all were less interested in theatrics and "progressivism" than their big-time British compatriots. Pub rock is one of the seminal forces that later helped create the British arm of New Wave (but not punk).
Punk Rock: 1. In America, in the middle Sixties. the (often amateurish) response to the British Invasion as performed by grass-roots groups with more desire than skill, typical punk rock of the period included "Psychotic Reaction" by Count Five and "Dirty Water" by the Standells. So called because the performers were usually aggressive and uncouth. 2. In England in the Seventies (somewhat in America though with less success) music forming the left wing of the New Wave, characterized by relentless guitar attack, abrasive vocals and funkless rhythm. Most Seventies punk is derived from such American bands as the Stooges, MC5 and New York Dolls, who were heir to but not part of, the first punk movement. Notable punk acts include the Sex Pistols and Clash in the U.K. and the Ramones in America.
Race Music: Pre-World War II term for black music, be it jazz, R&B or blues.
R&B: Abbreviation for rhythm & blues.
Reggae: Jamaican music derived from R&B and soul through the variants bluebeat and ska. Characterized by an odd rhythm pattern of false starts and straight-a-head beats, a uniquely mobile bass pattern, and odd guitar and vocal effects, some as smooth as Smokey Robinson, some as raspy as James Brown (the difference is epitomized by hearing Toots and the Maytals back to back with, say, Peter Tosh or the Wailers). There is also often-an emphasis in the lyrics on the back-to-Africa millenarianism of the Rastafarians, who belong to a Jamaican religious cult. Because so many Jamaicans live in England, reggae is a kind of pop music there and has been widely adopted by rock superstars (Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, the Clash), although in America it remains a minor cult style.
Rhythm & Blues: The black popular music of the late Forties and Fifties. Rhythm & blues adapted swing rhythm and horn charts, blues vocal technique and some elements of gospel into a uniquely urban popular music; much of this was later transmitted to rock & roll. Rhythm & Blues was regionally stylized (see New Orleans Sound, New York Sound, etc.) and intensely emotive but without the high seriousness of purpose that its contemporary jazz idiom, be-bop, displayed. As a result, it was looked down upon by sophisticates, although the continuing vitality of the honking saxophone, the moaning or wailing vocalist and the supercharged rhythm section belies the charges of frivolity originally leveled against it. Rhythm & blues was contemporaneous with rock & roll, and some artists (Fats Doinino, for instance) overlap both genres; similarly, there is some overlap with soul, which further heightened the gospel elements (Ray Charles was perhaps the key transitional figure here).
Rockabilly: The country-influenced rock style of the Fifties, as exemplified by Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly. Derived from" the juke-joint country music of the South, it was almost exclusively the domain of Southerners, whose knowledge of country string-band instrumentation merged with their exposure to black rhythm concepts. There was pre-Presley rockabilly of a sort, wild, black-influenced country dance music-but it was not quite rock & roll until Elvis emerged. Occasional noises are made about a rockabilly revival, but these are not to be taken seriously until John Fogerty re-forms Creedence Clearwater Revival.
Rock & Roll: Twenty-five years after Elvis Presley first recorded, rock & roll is still without adequate definition. Detractors will claim that innovators they particularly appreciate were actually R&B or country singers, while purists sometimes maintain that it was all over by 1957, but the continuing use of the term demands a more philosophical definition, although stating it precisely is like entering a minefield. Rock & roll isn’t just what rock fans, a notoriously eclectic group, say it is, but it also isn’t restricted to any particular geographical, ethnic or musicological group, great rock & roll has been made by blacks and whites, Northerners and Southerners, men and women, Americans, Englishmen and Jamaicans, although rarely by Europeans, Latin Americans (pace Ritchie Valens), old men (pace Muddy Waters) or TV stars. It is susceptible only to subjective and usually emotional definition, and next time you want to start a bar fight, try to limit it further. We’re not pacifists, but we’re not idiots either. This will have to serve.
Rock Opera: Concept first introduced by Pete Townshend to explain such extended narrative works as "A Quick One While He’s Away" and Tommy. But rock opera finally is closer to operetta in both conception and structure, and except for Townshend’s work (Tommy and Quadrophenia), rock operas (e.g., Jesus Christ Superstar) are rarely recognizable musically as rock at all.