There was a thick-set man with frog-eyes was standing at the door And a little bald man with wing-nut ears was waiting in the car Well, Robert Moore passed the frog-eyed man as he walked into the bar And Betty Coltrane, she jumped under her table...

"What's your pleasure?" asked the barman, he had a face like boiled meat; "There's a girl called Betty Coltrane that I have come to see." But I ain't seen that girl round here for more than a week" And Betty Coltrane she hid beneath the table...

Well, then in came a sailor with mermaids tattooed on his arms, Followed by the man with the wing-nut ears, who was waiting in the car; Well, Robert Moore sensed trouble, he'd seen it coming from afar And Betty Coltrane she gasped beneath the table...

Well, the sailor said, "I'm looking for my wife! They call her Betty Coltrane." And the frog-eyed man said, "That can't be! That's my wife's maiden name!" And the man with the wing-nut ears said, "Hey, I married her back in Spain!" And Betty Coltrane crossed herself beneath the table...

Well, Robert Moore stepped up and said, "That woman is my wife." And he drew a silver pistol and a wicked Bowie knife And he shot the man with the wing-nut ears straight between the eyes And Betty Coltrane she moaned under the table...

Well, the frog-eyed man jumped at Robert Moore who stabbed him in the chest; As Mr. Frog-eyes died, he said, "Betty, you're the girl that I loved best" Then the sailor pulled a razor and Robert Moore blasted him to bits And, "Betty, I know you're under the table!"

"Well, have no fear" said Robert Moore "I do not want to hurt you! Never a woman did I love near half as much as you; You are the blessed sun to me, girl, and you are the sacred moon." And Betty shot his legs out from under the table...

Well, Robert Moore went down heavy with a crash upon the floor And over to his trashing body Betty Coltrane she did crawl; She put the gun to the back of his head and pulled the trigger once more And blew his brains out all over the table...

Well, Betty stood up and shook her head and waved the smoke away; Said, "I'm sorry, Mr. Barman, to leave your place this way." As she emptied out their wallets, she said, "I'll collect my severance pay..." Then she winked and threw a dollar on the table.



Lyrics submitted by Dressed2Depress

The Ballad of Robert Moore and Betty Coltrane song meanings
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3 Comments

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  • +1
    Song MeaningGreat song. I agree it should have been on murder ballads.

    I think Nick is implying that perhaps instead trying to kill each other that Robert Moore, the "man with the wing-nut ears", the "frog-eyed man" and the sailor should have realized their real enemy was Betty Coltrane. Clearly Betty Coltrane is a harpy and when she steals the money from everyone at the end it is obvious she never cared about any of these men.

    Another awesome tale of "love" gone wrong from Nick Cave.

    ShootTheM14on July 08, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is a lot of fun, and should have been on murder ballads imho, maybe its a bit short tho, its a reinterpretation of a folk standard if i'm not mistaken. I love when the keyboards kick in and give it that sea shanty feel very appropriate and the ending is unreal.

    the lyrics speak for themselves really
    Dressed2Depresson June 27, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI drives me nuts that this song is a "B-SIDE" considering how awesome it is. How this is excluded from "Murder Ballads" in lieu of such songs a "The Kindness of Strangers" or "Lovely Creature" or "Crow Jane" i'll never understand. Maybe it was too similar to "Stagger Lee" and "O'Malley's Bar." I wouldn't have minded at all personally.

    This is sort of a silly song for "songmeanings.net" but hell, shouldn't every ballad be - just tell the story move on the the next one. And this ballad tells it with such descriptive flair and instrumental ruckus - it's impossible not to love this song.
    StickityWicketon July 03, 2008   Link

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