Ed Butler opened Wright Gallery Vinyl Record Store, at 50 North Front Street, four years ago, attracting customers solely by word of mouth. He currently stocks more than 20,000 records, which are priced from $1 up to $150 (that’s for a 1952 10-inch disk featuring jazz saxophonist Allen Eager). He also sells $40 brand-new reissues on vinyl. College kids buy his records because they want to play the music, while collectors in search of a first pressing just want to have the record.
Entering his store is like traveling down memory lane, with at least one of your favorite albums likely peeping out of the rows of cardboard boxes. Butler, who formerly ran a gallery in the store, does rotating themed displays of record covers (current theme: dance records). Also adorning the walls is a cover with a fetching photo of Edith Piaf, the album cover for Godz (an early art rock band), an early Johnny Cash album, and a cover for Tex Larabey, pasted with a photo of his tombstone.
When Butler still had the gallery, he did a show of album covers, borrowing records from friends. On the opening night, he set up a table, started selling albums, and the rest is history. Butler also plays guitar, and the jam sessions that used to happen in the back of his store led to the building of a recording studio. He now records musicians in the facility and also fixes guitar amps. Wright Gallery Vinyl Record Stores is open from 10 to 5:30 Monday through Saturday.
50 N. Front Street
Kingston NY 12401