The Mountain Goats Wiki
The Mountain Goats Wiki


November 5, 2002






John Darnielle, Peter Hughes, Franklin Bruno, Michael Irvins

Tallahassee is the Mountain Goats' first major studio album. It was also the first to have a single released, "See America Right". In honor of the album's tenth anniversary, the cover album Tallahassee Turns Ten was released on November 5, 2012.

Liner Notes[]

"I stroll the yard, my keen convicted mind wondering if the fence to freedom will really deliver 30,000 volts."

-Jimmy A. Lerner

We came into town under cover of night, because we were pretty sure the people here were going to hate us once they really got to know us. In our lives together, which are sweet in the way of rotting things, it is somehow permanently summer.

THE MOON rose above the trees, older than time, greener than money. You hung your head out the window of our dusty lemon-yellow El Camino and howled, and I turned up the radio, because the sound of your voice was already beginning to get to me. The speakers crackled and the music came through: Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Pretty as a midsummer's morn, they call her Dawn. Let the love of God come and get is if it wants us so bad. We know were we are going when all of this is done.

SOME PEOPLE MIGHT SAY that buying a house you've never actually seen close-up is a bad idea, but what does anybody know about our needs, anyhow? For us it was perfect. The peeling paint. The old cellar. The garden in the back. The porch out front. The still air of the living room. The attic. Everywhere entirely unfurnished and doomed to remain largely so, save for our own meager offerings: a cheap sofa, an old mattress, a couple of chairs and some ashtrays. Maybe a table salvaged from some diner gone into bankruptcy, I don't remember. Neither do you. We drank store-brand gin with fresh lime juice out of plastic cups or straight from the bottle and we spread ourselves out face-up on the wooden floors. An aerial view of us might have suggested that we'd been knocked out, but what we were doing was staking our claim. Establishing our territories. Making good. Not on the vows we'd made but on the ones we'd really meant. You produced a wallet-sized transistor radio out of nowhere and you found a sympathetic station: somebody was playing Howlin' Wolf. Smokestack lightning. O yes, I loved you once. O yes, you loved me more. We entered our new house like a virus entering its host. You following me, me following you. However you like. The windows were high and the walls were thick and sturdy. It was hot as blazes. The guts of summer. Always down in the sugar-deep barrel- bottom belly of summer itself. Always. In our shared walk down to the bottom, which bottom we will surely find if only our hearts are brave and our love true enough, we have found that it is somehow invariably and quite permanently summer.

"Leading cases are the stuff of which the common law is made, and no leading case in the common law is better known than that of Regina v. Dudley and Stephens. It was decided in 1884 by a court in the Royal Courts of Justice in London. In it, two profoundly respectable seamen, Captain Tom Dudley and Mate Edwin Stephens, lately of the yacht Mignonette, were sentenced to death for murder of their shipmate, Ordinary Seaman Richard Parker, after a bench of five judges had ruled that one must not kill one's ship- mates in order to eat them, however hungry one might be."

-A.W. Brian Simpson, Cannibalism and the Common Law


  1. "Tallahassee" – 4:42
  2. "First Few Desperate Hours" – 3:03
  3. "Southwood Plantation Road" – 2:45
  4. "Game Shows Touch Our Lives" – 3:48
  5. "The House That Dripped Blood" – 2:53
  6. "Idylls of the King" – 3:32
  7. "No Children" – 2:46
  8. "See America Right" – 1:54
  9. "Peacocks" – 3:44
  10. "International Small Arms Traffic Blues" – 2:50
  11. "Have to Explode" – 3:21
  12. "Old College Try" – 2:52
  13. "Oceanographer's Choice" – 4:08
  14. "Alpha Rats Nest" – 2:10


  • The songs "Ethiopians" and "Alpha Chum Gatherer" were written and recorded for the album, but didn't make the cut. "Going to Federal Prison" was also started for the album, but John Darnielle never finished writing it.
  • Working titles for the album included "Bottom Feeders"[1] and "Flashburn".