Posted by: Dominic Umile | 01/24/2009

Tom Moon and Your Record Collection

moon-bookI wrote a handful of things for The Philadelphia Inquirer’s music section when I was an undergrad. As I can only assume that the copy was amateur-ish and primitively structured, I’m ever grateful that the staff was kind enough to exclude it when archiving those issues for the Web (Thanks, Inquirer – for serious). Anyway, my editor at the time was Tom Moon, a music scribe I’d read for years before having the chance to file record reviews with him.

[Sidenote: I’ll probably always remember how I felt when I’d heard the news that Elliott Smith died, and Moon captured my sentiment perfectly in a typically enlightening eulogy for the Inquirer.] During my brief tenure as a freelancer for the paper, Moon had mentioned he was taking a book leave (which would someday become permanent) in order to write 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die, a compendium of album recommendations that is ultimately tailored to populate the record shopping list of an uninformed, casual but enthusiastic music fan, rather than your average vinyl snob. Incidentally, it caters to both walks of life.

Moon, a regular contributor to NPR’s music section these days, asked me to help him in a research assistant capacity, and I’m very happy to have been even a tiny part of his writing this book. I highly recommend it. It’s loaded with Moon’s comprehensive analysis, and while it’s light on hip hop entries, the genre span is miles long — on a personal level, its carefully assembled, sizable discussion of jazz has proven indispensable.


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