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Mick Tarrant, who ran the Armadillo Records shop on Queens Road, Westbourne, in the late-1970s, met McLaren early in his career.
“I used to look after Ted Carroll’s Rock On stall on the Goldborne Road when Ted was on the road with Thin Lizzy and McLaren used to come and buy old rock ’n’ roll records for Let It Rock. “He was really boned up on music and knew his stuff – always seemed a thoroughly decent chap to me. Read more

(Nov 8, 2012) John Z said:Absolutely brilliant shop. Lived in Bury on a visit to Bournemouth this shop was on the same street as our hotel and made a 2 week holiday in the late 70’s great. Wish I’d bought even more from them!
Possibly my favourite ever record shop!

(Mar 22, 2012) Anonymous said:Great shop, loved it !!

(Dec 10th 2014) I grew up in Bournemouth in the 70s, and Armadillo was my favourite second-hand record shop. Through it I discovered a lot of West Coast stuff, and more. Sad to see it has closed, but good to see it has not been forgotten. Comment:
Philip Thomas.

Name Ray Symbolic Comment Far and away the greatest (non-reggae) record shop in the world – and that's not just nostalgia talking. Mick was often challenging in person; I lost count of the number of times he 'barred' me for the heinous crime of looking through a box of singles twice, or sniggering at his West Coast affectations and walrus moustache.

What I didn't realise until much later was that Mick would drive down to Rough Trade every Friday, to select stock which simply wouldn't have been otherwise available in Dorset. Much like Peel, I think, he was happy to promote underacknowledged music, whether or not it met with his tastes, and worked tirelessly to keep apace with rapidly accelerating developments in post-Punk etc.

He also brought the Mighty Observer to Bournemouth's Town Hall on more than one occasion, DJ'd between bands at the Midnight Express, and worked on many local co-promotions with the Comix bookshop and rehearsal studios next door.

Whilst Armadillo was very much Mick's idiosyncratic personal fiefdom, it acted as a social hub for misfits and fanatics of varying stripe, many of whom will owe their musical eduction to his ceaseless efforts. ( Oct 14th, 2016).

I can remember visiting this shop &
purchasing my first 'wet willie' album 'live & dripping wet' which I still have today'
Always used to look in when travelling down from Yeovil.
david james
Fond Memories,
David j.

A fantastic experience thumbing through the vinyl in Armadillo. Mick used to regularly bring in Bowie rare releases and live recordings which i added to my collection. He was a good guy, didnt like it if you overstayed and definitely didnt like some of the bands who used the rehearsal rooms at Comix ...he was highly opinionated ,but justifiably so with a great knowledge of what was happening in the music industry at that time...
would love to see the store open would be rammed with customers..

Mike L.
I can remember visiting this shop &
purchasing my first 'wet willie' album 'live & dripping wet' which I still have today'
Always used to look in when travelling down from Yeovil.
Fond Memories,
David j. (2017)
Thanks to all for the kind words re Armadillo Records. Big part of my life and pleased to see that it meant a lot to others.
Sorry for "barring" you Ray but if it was "numerous times" I must have relented and allowed you back in!
Rough Trade was a pilgrimage, a quest to bring back everything people had asked for, no matter how obscure.
The Mighty Observer Sound System was run by Austin Palmer, a delightful dread, who worked at RT.Had a Reggae shop in Harlesden in later years. Used to visit him when working as DJ at original Mean Fiddler venue.
Best wishes to all ex customers.
Mick Tarrant (2018)
Mick was one of John Peel’s Corporals John played it Mick sold it, and for a very fair and affordable price. A less than sensible proportion of my Friday’s wage packet never got past Armadillo! Mick had a way about him some would say he was DRY others SARCASTIC maybe others RUDE. He was of course just highly individual. The gigs he organised and sound systems were legendary and that is no over use of the word. Back in the 60’s I think the shop may have been a Watchmakers when the Somerset and Dorset Railway terminated at Bournemouth West across the road.

Dave Meek

This was a brilliant shop and I used to visit regularly in the late 1970s as young teenager. Had to be on best behaviour. I can remember almost everything I bought, stuff you couldn't get anywhere else locally. Swell Maps 'Read About Seymour' and Gang Of Four 'Damaged Goods' stand out
Phil Bailey

My brother used to talk about Armadillo in the seventies, but I didn't start going there regularly until the early eighties. I think one of the regular guys there was called Adrian (I could be wrong after all this time). Although a small shop it more than often had something for me. Talking about records with my son a while back it seemed a lot of the music he likes now, I bought at Armadillo. The first Ban-Caruso compilations, promo copies of both Bangles 'All Over The Place' and Playn Jayn's live LP. Early Creation label release by Biff Bang Pow, The Creation 'Making Time' (on Raw,'77)
I still recall the guy playing me Black Mass by The Jason Crest and breaking out laughing, cause I had to have it! Also, the collages behind the counter; when I asked about the picture sleeve for The Jam's 'Down In The Tubestation..' single, he took it down and gave me it. One of the best record shops for me, both for the help and stockwise.
Glenn Johnson

Five years too late, but I've only just seen your reply, Mick – thanks very much for that, and I hope you're doing well, wherever you are.
With Comix vintage bookshop, Armadillo, Bus Stop Records, a tattooist and (later) a rockabilly barbershop in close vicinity, your little corner of town had all the makings of a 'hip strip' before its time, and many happy purchases are still ensconced on my shelves to this day. The shop even had a unique odour – a pungent mixture of rich coffee and wet fish from the wholesalers next door, which has never quite left me.
I also neglected to mention your innovations as co-owner of the Midnight Express and the Red Stripe café in Westbourne, which I only had a chance to visit once on a return visit.... all heartfelt efforts to transform the cultural life of an often complacent and bourgeois town back then. Your groundwork has not been in vain, so thanks again for steering us young punks right!

PS Austin and Tracy from Observer are now in Jamaica, by the way. All the best to Louie and Gerry from Comix, if you're still in touch! (2023)


21 Apr 2024 at 08:47
The best record shop by a country mile. Mick turned me on to Television, Talking Heads, Joe Strummer ( keys to my heart 101'rs) and the mighty Little Feat. The love of music virtually blinded you as soon as you crossed the threshold. I still tell all of my friends about Armadillo Records wish I could still chat to the guys and pop out the back for a cuppa.
23 Jul 2024 at 01:14
Brilliant shop. Was good friends with Eddy (who was working with Mick when it opened) and his girlfriend Sarah,they were both witnesses when I got married in 1977. Midnight Express was probably my favourite venue ever.



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