"Shankill Butchers" as written by and Colin Meloy....
Two, three, four

The Shankill butchers ride tonight
You better shut your windows tight
They're sharpening their cleavers and their knives
And taking all their whiskey by the pint

'Cause everybody knows
If you don't mind your mother's words
A wicked wind will blow
Your ribbons from your curls
Everybody moan, everybody shake
The Shankill butchers wanna catch you awake

They used to be just like me and you
They used to be sweet little boys
But something went horribly askew
Now killing is their only source of joy

'Cause everybody knows
If you don't mind your mother's words
A wicked wind will blow
Your ribbons from your curls
Everybody moan, everybody shake
The Shankill butchers wanna catch you awake

The Shankill butchers on the rise
They're waiting until the dead of nights
They're picking at their fingers with their knives
And wiping off their cleavers on their thighs

'Cause everybody knows
If you don't mind your mother's words
A wicked wind will blow
Your ribbons from your curls
Everybody moan, everybody shake
The Shankill butchers wanna catch you
The Shankill butchers wanna cut you
The Shankill butchers wanna catch you, awake
Awake
Awake
Awake


Lyrics submitted by derektor

"Shankill Butchers" as written by Colin Meloy

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Shankill Butchers song meanings
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57 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentThe Shankill Butchers were a splinter group of the UVR (Ulster Volunteer Force) in Belfast who'd beat and sometimes kill Catholics (who had little to no connection to the IRA or nationalist movement) who they'd captured at night on the streets. They were at large in the sixties and seventies.
    wonderbreadlandon February 17, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Commentthis song is scary...

    and frickin awesome.
    WriterOfFictionson April 23, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI love the Decemberists' demented wives' tales and bedtime stories. (For another one, see A Cautionary Tale from Castaways and Cutouts.)

    It sounds as if this song was recorded in a similiar fashion to the Death Cab song "I Will Follow You Into the Dark" in that the singing and acoustic guitar part were recorded simultaneously in one take. It's particularly effective in that it makes the songs more sincere and, in this case, a lot more creepy. Mr. Walla seems to like that method.
    musicforlife!on September 21, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentMayhaps the team will have some good music to back it...
    Cynothoglyson January 21, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI'm pretty sure it's "wanna catch you awake" not "cut you away," until the end where he's all like, "wanna catch you, wanna cut you, wanna catch you awake awake awake."

    Though it could depend on what version you heard, in which case we're all right!
    elrondioon January 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI heard them do this about a week ago. I really like it. Very... Decemberisty
    lizziewon February 01, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentguys in ireland who used to go around killing catholics, so says colin on npr
    constanton February 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentpumkinhed, I'm guessing the lyrics are quite dependent on the melody, somewhat like Of Angels and Angles. They're OK lyrics on their own but the combination is what makes the song so good.
    joelsephon February 06, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe whole thing apparently turned into a bedtime story that Irish Catholic parents would impart to their kids before tucking them in at night, that's still told today. sweet dreams!
    xsylviaoon June 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWow - I didn't know the Decmeberists wrote a song about these guys. Random.

    Anyway, the Shankill Butchers were a bunch of scumbag murdering c**** from Belfast, most of whom are now burning in hell (or are on their way). Yay!

    The movie Resurrection Man is about them
    Yer_Maon August 03, 2006   Link

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