All Hail West Texas

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All Hail West Texas
Studio album by the Mountain Goats
Released February 19, 2002
Recorded 2001
Genre Lo-fi
Length 42:02
Label Emperor Jones
Producer John Darnielle
the Mountain Goats chronology
The Coroner's Gambit
(2000)The Coroner's Gambit2000
All Hail West Texas
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[1]
Pitchfork Media (8.2/10) (Initial release) [2]
(9.0/10) (Reissue)[3]
Popmatters favorable[4]

All Hail West Texas is the sixth studio album by the Mountain Goats. After the slight increase in production values on The Coroner's Gambit album of 2000, All Hail West Texas is the last Mountain Goats album recorded entirely on John Darnielle's trademark Panasonic RX-FT500 boombox. It is also the last album by the Mountain Goats to only feature John Darnielle.

The album is loosely a concept album, with the cover stating that the album consists of "fourteen songs about seven people, two houses, a motorcycle, and a locked treatment facility for adolescent boys." Many of the songs explicitly refer to places in Texas, and evoke a lifestyle ethos born of the vast expanses of desert and highway found in West Texas itself.[citation needed]

Several songs were written to appear on the record that were not included in its final version. Three were given away on the Tiny Mix Tapes website ("Song for God", "Warm Lonely Planet", and "Waco"). Darnielle said there was a full set of fifteen outtakes that he intended to release for free one day, but he destroyed them after hearing about the leak of Hail and Farewell, Gothenburg. It is not known whether that set included the three listed above.

When the promotional copies of this album were sent out, a unique General Highway Map of a part of West Texas was included in the mailing. Apparently this was not acknowledged by any of the critics who received it.[5]

In May 2013, Darnielle announced that Merge Records would reissue All Hail West Texas on July 23 of that year, on vinyl for the first time.[6] The announcement included a link to an explanatory essay by Matt Fraction.[7] The reissue includes remastered versions of the original recordings, seven previously unreleased tracks contemporary to the original album, and a new 1,800-word essay by Darnielle about the album and his writing process.[8][9]


All Hail West Texas was well received by critics compared to other albums created by the Mountain Goats. Critics point out the use of the Panasonic RX-FT500 and how the album had a more raw sound than a studio recording.[10] It is also mentioned that the "wheel grind" of the tape recorder itself is heard throughout the album. Some of the album's critics hold that the general direction of the album is hard to follow.[11] The 2013 reissue was given the title of "Best New Reissue" by Pitchfork Media.[12]

Track listing[edit]

All lyrics and music by John Darnielle.

No. Title Length
1. "The Best Ever Death Metal Band in Denton" 2:37
2. "Fall of the Star High School Running Back" 1:49
3. "Color in Your Cheeks" 2:40
4. "Jenny" 2:51
5. "Fault Lines" 2:38
6. "Balance" 2:03
7. "Pink and Blue" 2:29
8. "Riches and Wonders" 3:57
9. "The Mess Inside" 3:35
10. "Jeff Davis County Blues" 3:14
11. "Distant Stations" 3:04
12. "Blues in Dallas" 4:15
13. "Source Decay" 3:47
14. "Absolute Lithops Effect" 4:08
Total length: 43:13

2013 reissue bonus tracks[edit]

No. Title Length
15. "Hardpan Song" 2:00
16. "Answering the Phone" 2:29
17. "Indonesia" 2:29
18. "Midland" 3:16
19. "Jenny (alt. take)" 2:52
20. "Tape Travel Is Lonely" 2:36
21. "Waco" 3:07
Total length: 62:02


  1. ^ Allmusic review
  2. ^ Pitchfork Media initial review
  3. ^ Pitchfork Media reissue review
  4. ^ Popmatters review
  5. ^ Letter from Craig Stewart of Emperor Jones Records dated 18 August 2004
  6. ^ Darnielle, John (2013-05-13). "Requiem for Red Southern Curl". Retrieved 2013-09-20. 
  7. ^ Fraction, Matt (2013-05-13). "Notes on imaginary extant, lost, deleted, and unrecorded tracks written, performed, recorded for or during the period of time in the life of John Darnielle that would produce "All Hail West Texas" not included in this collection because they are all imaginary". Retrieved 2013-09-20. 
  8. ^ "Merge Records Store". Retrieved 2013-06-15. 
  9. ^ "Mountain Goats to Reissue All Hail West Texas". Retrieved 2013-06-15. 
  10. ^ Schneyer, Jeremy. "The Mountain Goats: All Hail West Texas". Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  11. ^ Haney, Shawn. "All Hail West Texas". Retrieved 2012-10-18. 
  12. ^ Zoladz, Lindsay (2013-07-23). "All Hail West Texas". Retrieved 2013-07-28. 

External links[edit]