God's Gonna Cut You Down

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"God's Gonna Cut You Down", also known as "Run On" and "Run On for a Long Time", is a traditional folk song which has been recorded by numerous artists representing a variety of genres. The lyrics are a warning to sinners that no matter how hard they try, they will not avoid God's judgment; in the chorus, God tells the narrator of the song to

The song had, in the past, been modified to fit the boundaries of genres like country, folk, gospel and techno. As "God's Gonna Cut You Down", it was performed by Odetta on Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues (1956) and Johnny Cash on the posthumously released American V: A Hundred Highways (2006). As "Run On", it was recorded, among others, by Elvis Presley. A version incorporating sampled vocals by Bill Landford & The Landfordaires was included on Moby's album Play. The Blind Boys of Alabama also included the song on their Grammy-winning album Spirit of the Century in 2001. In 2007, Kevin Max of dc Talk covered the song as "Run On for a Long Time" with Chris Sligh.

Moby version[edit]

"Run On"
Single by Moby featuring Bill Landford & The Landfordaires
from the album Play
B-side "Spirit", "Running", "Sunday", "Down Slow (full length)"
Released April 26, 1999 (United Kingdom)
May 11, 1999 (United States)
Genre Electronica, gospel, trip hop, alternative hip hop
Length 3:45 (album version)
3:33 (single version)
3:09 (radio edit)
Writer(s) Traditional
Producer(s) Moby
Moby featuring Bill Landford & The Landfordaires singles chronology
"Honey"
(1998)
"Run On"
(1999)
"Bodyrock"
(1999)

Electronic musician Moby released "Run On" as the second single from his studio album Play. Two versions of the CD were released. The first with a red cover featuring a vertically-aligned mousetrap, and the second with a yellow cover featuring a horizontally-aligned mousetrap.

In the US, "Run On" was released as a double A-side with "Honey".

The vocal content of the song comes from a 1943 recording of "Run On" by Bill Landford and the Landfordaires, and features a mix of house music and instrumental music.

Track listing[edit]

UK CD #1 (Mute Records CDMUTE221)
  1. "Run On" - 3:33
  2. "Spirit" - 4:12
  3. "Running" - 7:04
UK CD #2 (Mute Records LCDMUTE221)
  1. "Run On (Extended)" - 4:24
  2. "Sunday" - 5:00
  3. "Down Slow (Full Length)" - 5:56
US CD (V2 Records 63881-27583-2)
  1. "Honey (Album Mix)" - 3:29
  2. "Honey (Moby's 118 Mix)" - 4:49
  3. "Honey (Sharam Jey's Sweet Honey Mix)" - 6:41
  4. "Honey (Aphrodite & Mickey Finn Mix)" - 6:24
  5. "Run On (Extended)" - 4:27
  6. "Run On (Moby's Young And Funky Mix)" - 6:05
  7. "Run On (Sharam Jey's Always On The Run Remix)" - 6:01
  8. "Memory Gospel" - 6:42

Music video[edit]

Mike Mills' video involves Moby working at an office where everyone wears white. It then shows an earlier scene involving a workout instructor who faints while teaching a class. Moby then comes in and puts an inhaler in her mouth. It then continues to show an earlier scene, going backwards to tell the entire story: the office Moby works in is heaven, the instructor is self-conscious and unsure of her capabilities, and heaven is a self-help phone line. Eventually, it shows a scene of Moby dead in a parking lot, with another employee checking his pulse. It then concludes with a shot of Moby working in the same office, but it has a green light to it, and everyone is unkind and emotionally distant.

Johnny Cash version[edit]

"God's Gonna Cut You Down"
Single by Johnny Cash
from the album American V: A Hundred Highways
Released July 4, 2006
Recorded 2003
Genre Country, folk, gospel
Length 2:38
Label American Recordings
Lost Highway Records
Writer(s) Traditional
Producer(s) Rick Rubin
Johnny Cash singles chronology
"Hurt"
(2006)
"God's Gonna Cut You Down"
(2006)
"Help Me"
(2007)

Johnny Cash recorded a version of "God's Gonna Cut You Down" on American V: A Hundred Highways in 2003, with an arrangement quite different from most known gospel versions of the song.

A music video, directed by Tony Kaye,[1] was made for this version in late 2006, three years after Cash's death. The video was shot entirely in black and white and features a number of celebrities, including (in order of appearance):

The video also briefly features archive footage of Cash himself. Since its release, both the song and video have seen moderate airplay. The video won the 2008 Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video.

The Johnny Cash version can also be heard in the following:

Other artists[edit]

American singer and civil rights activist Odetta recorded a traditional version of the song. Musician Sean Michel covered the song during his audition on Season 6 of American Idol. Matchbox Twenty also used the song before playing "How Far We've Come" on their "Exile in America" tour. The New Jersey rock band The Gaslight Anthem have also covered the song.[citation needed] Canadian rock band Three Days Grace has used the song in the opening of their live shows, as well as the rock band Staind . Bobbie Gentry recorded a version as "Sermon" on her album The Delta Sweete. Guitarist Bill Leverty recorded a version for his third solo project Deep South, a tribute album of traditional songs. Tom Jones recorded an up-tempo version which appears on his 2010 album Praise & Blame. Pow woW recorded a version with the Golden Gate Quartet for their 1992 album Regagner les Plaines and performed a live version with the quartet in 2008. A cover of the song by Blues Saraceno was used for the Season 8 trailer of the TV series Dexter. Pedro Costa recorded a neo-blues version for the Discovery channel TV show Weed Country (2013). Virginia based folk rock band Carbon Leaf covered the song many times during their live shows. Rebel Son, a Southern/Rockabilly band from Raleigh, NC, covered this song on their 5th full length CD "All My Demons".

Chart positions[edit]

Moby version: "Run On"[edit]

Chart (1999) Peak
position
UK Singles Chart 33

Johnny Cash version[edit]

Chart (2006) Peak
position
UK Singles Chart 77

References[edit]

External links[edit]