I lost a friend last weekend. Earl Root came into my life in 1991 as a vinyl record hound. He was selling used records from the back of his car at a local hifi store in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He got his own shop in the basement, he couldn't resist the pun, so he called the store "Root Cellar Records." Later on he had a street-level store which kept the Root-Cellar name. When bad audio couldn't get him and bad music couldn't get him, cancer got him after a nine-year battle.
Being an advocate of the vinyl medium is a strange thing. Earl's first love in music was heavy metal and he was a member of a death-metal band called "Disturbed." At its peak, Disturbed had concert tours, record albums, and thousands of adoring fans. Like many of Earl's customers and friends, I have no love of metal music. But Earl loved all vinyl including classical, jazz, folk, and whatever odd stuff found its way into twelve-inch album jackets. That made Earl an advocate of all music. We also shared a love of high-end audio.
Sharing a love of a medium and a message (vinyl and music) became a strong bond over the seventeen years I knew Earl. We talked about all kinds of things from business to family, from records to tunes, from successes to screw-ups. A used-record merchant already knows Death because many of his records come from the dead and the dying. One expansive record collection from a deceased fellow named Dave Bednarz became wonderful additions to the collections of dozens of us through Earl's magic. "You'll like this one, Adam," "You have to have this one, Adam," "Every song is wonderful on this one, Adam."
There are a thousand turntables out there, mine included, that are blessed by Earl's love for records, their music, and those who listen to them.
14:45:17 Mountain Standard Time (MST).
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