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 has, over time, been modified to fit the boundaries of diverse 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 Landfordairs was included on Moby's album Play. The song has also been covered by many other artists.

Moby cover[edit]

"Run On"
Single by Moby featuring Bill Landford & The Landfordairs
from the album Play
B-side "Spirit", "Running", "Sunday", "Down Slow (full length)"
Released April 26, 1999 (United Kingdom)
May 11, 1999 (United States)
Writer(s) Traditional
Producer(s) Moby
Moby featuring Bill Landford & The Landfordairs singles chronology
"Run On"

Electronic musician Moby released "Run On" as the second single from his studio album Play.

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

The vocal content of the song comes from a 1949 Columbia Records #30203 recording of "Run On For A Long Time" by Bill Landford and the Landfordairs,[1][2] and features a mix of house music and instrumental music.

Track listing[edit]

UK CD #1 (Mute Records CDMUTE221)

  1. "Run On"
  2. "Spirit"
  3. "Running"

UK CD #2 (Mute Records LCDMUTE221)

  1. "Run On (Extended)"
  2. "Sunday"
  3. "Down Slow (Full Length)"

US CD (V2 Records 63881-27583-2)

  1. "Honey (Album Mix)"
  2. "Honey (Moby's 118 Mix)"
  3. "Honey (Sharam Jey's Sweet Honey Mix)"
  4. "Honey (Aphrodite & Mickey Finn Mix)"
  5. "Run On (Extended)"
  6. "Run On (Moby's Young And Funky Mix)"
  7. "Run On (Sharam Jey's Always On The Run Remix)"
  8. "Memory Gospel"

UK 12-inch (Mute Records 12MUTE221)

Side One

  1. "Run On (Moby's Young & Funky Mix)"

Side Two

  1. "Run On (Dave Clarke Mix)"
  2. "Run On (Extended)"

Music video[edit]

Mike Mills' video depicts Moby working at an office where everyone wears white.[citation needed] 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.[original research?]

Johnny Cash cover[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
"God's Gonna Cut You Down"
"Help Me"

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.[citation needed]

A music video, directed by Tony Kaye,[3] 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.

In the FOX TV series Gotham, this version of the song can be heard at the beginning of the episode What the Little Birdie Told Him, while Jack Gruber is walking to Irwin's Electronics.[4] It also features in the NBC TV series The Blacklist, in the episode The Director: Conclusion.

Other artists[edit]

American singer and civil rights activist Odetta recorded a version of the song in the style of a 19th century revival meeting preaching hymn.[5]

Chart positions[edit]

Moby cover[edit]

Chart (1999) Peak
UK Singles Chart 33

Johnny Cash cover[edit]

Chart (2006) Peak
UK Singles Chart 77


  1. ^ http://www.78discography.com/COL30000.htm
  2. ^ http://www.rootsvinylguide.com/ebay_items/col-30203-bill-landford-landfordairs-run-on-for-a-long-time-troubled-lord-e-e
  3. ^ Cinematical - Tony Kaye No Longer Just History
  4. ^ Abrams, Simon (19 January 2015). "Gotham Recap: Finally, a Decent Episode!". Vulture. Retrieved 22 January 2015. 
  5. ^ "Review". Liguorian (The Redemptorist Fathers) 63: 68. 1975. In a marvelous new album of recorded folk songs (Vanguard Recording Co.), a gifted folk singer, Odetta, sings, 'God's A-gonna Cut You Down!' It is a powerful warning, in the style of the 'preaching hymn' of the old-time revivals and camp meetings which were such an important feature of frontier life during the entire 19th century. 

External links[edit]