Throwback Music Saturday: Run On

‘Run On’ is a traditional folk song which has been recorded by numerous artists.

Bill LankfordAt some point in the 1990s, I bought a box set called Roots ‘N Blues: The Retrospective 1925-1950, “a four-CD box set released on Columbia Records in 1992. The set features five hours worth of early blues, folk/country, and gospel recordings from a variety of American artists. Many of these recordings had never previously been issued in any medium.”

Eventually, I got Moby’s 1999 album Play and stopped short when I heard the song Run On. BOY, that sounded familiar. As it turns out Moby sampled Bill Landford And The Landfordaires’ 1949 version of Run On For A Long Time, which appears on disc 4 of Roots ‘N Blues.

From Wikipedia: “‘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… modified to fit the boundaries of diverse genres like country, folk, gospel and techno.”

Subsequently, I got versions of the song by Johnny Cash, on a 2006 posthumous album, and Tom Jones, from his 2010 album. But I had never owned the great 1956 version by Odetta, though my father had possessed several of her albums.


Run On For A Long Time – Bill Landford And The Landfordaires here or here or here

God’s Gonna Cut You Down – Odetta here or here (a slightly different version)

Run On – Moby here or here (official)

God’s Gonna Cut You Down – Johnny Cash here or here (official)

Run On – Tom Jones here

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

3 thoughts on “Throwback Music Saturday: Run On”

  1. I bought Play back in the day, and this was one of my favourite tracks. I’ve often gone looking for the original songs sampled in a song I liked, and that was true of several songs on that album. However, in those pre-YouTube days it was definitely harder to do.

    But, now that there US YouTube, and I followed your links to hear the original, I found out Elvis also recorded a version, and it’s not too bad:

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