Encompassing Doo-Wop, early rock 'n' roll, Vocal Jazz standards, and some Big Band stuff such as Glenn Miller, oldies can be defined as pretty much all the music that came out of the states after the second world war and before the explosion of long-haired, pot-smokin' freedom rock in the mid-1960s. Oldies often get dismissed as too tame for sophisticated modern palates, but for some that's the genre's biggest value -- it harks back to a time that now seems innocent. The best thing about oldies is that you can hear the artists expressing unexpectedly radical messages in songs that appear harmless on the surface. The sexual repression stereotype of the '50s is obliterated by the brazen lyrics of the Dominoes' "60 Minute Man," while Nat King Cole's commercial pandering and Al Jolson's overt racism are answered by the Coasters with songs including "Framed" and "Riot in Cell Block #9." Although the songs in this category were released from the '40s through the mid-1960s and are stylistically diverse, they're usually lumped together in the oldies bin at your local record store. With such ambiguous boundaries, oldies offer a smorgasbord of styles, varying degrees of commerciality, and cool, scratchy recordings.