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Politics, open government, and safe streets. And the constant incursion of cycling.

Midweek Makeover: God’s Gonna Cut You Down

So, I generally think of myself as somewhat informed about the genealogy of much music.  One of my thrills in the early 90s was being able to instantly ID the 70s samples that 90s hiphop relied upon.  And really, on the whole, I still like to think I’ve got a decent grasp of 20th Century American music.

With an intro like that, you know where I’m going, right?

Today, I followed a link to this God’s Gonna Cut You All Down mashup – a Johnny Cash/All-Star Band mix that relies on a(n incredibly violent) Rambo video as the punch line:

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All-star video, that.  But as I listened, I thought – huh, I’ve heard those lyrics before, no? [hamster wheels spinning]  Ah, right.  Moby’s Run On.  1999:

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And since we all knew Moby’s never started with any original material, it got me wondering.   Turns out I was *completely* clueless, and that it’s all based on an old folk song – God’s Gonna Cut You Down.  Lyrics (beautiful, indeed):

You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time, run on for a long time
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down

Go tell that long tongue liar, go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut’em down
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut’em down

Well, my goodness gracious let me tell you the news
My head’s been wet with the midnight dew
I’ve been down on bended knee
Talkin’ to the man from Galilee

He spoke to me in the voice so sweet
I thought, I heard the shuffle of the angel’s feet
He called my name and my heart stood still
When he said, “John, go do my will”

Go tell that long tongue liar, go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut’em down
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut’em down

You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time, run on for a long time
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down

Well,youmay throw your rock and hide your hand
Workin’ in the dark against your fellow man
But as sure as God made black and white
What’s down in the dark will be brought to the light

You can run on for a long time
Run on for a long time, run on for a long time
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down
Sooner or later God’ll cut you down

Go tell that long tongue liar, go and tell that midnight rider
Tell the rambler, the gambler, the back biter
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut you down
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut you down
Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut you down

Pretty much gets to the heart of humanity’s darker needs, doesn’t it?  Incredible.  An age-old theme, to be sure. Odetta Gordons knocked it out in 1956:

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Tell ’em that God’s gonna cut you down.

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Midweek Makeover: It’s Time Edition

3 Comments

  1. Karen

    The ad banner currently showing at the bottom of that last video is for a MMO called “World of Tanks”, described thus:

    “World of Tanks is a team-based massively multiplayer online game dedicated to armored warfare in the mid-20th century. Throw yourself into epic tank battles shoulder to shoulder with other steel cowboys to dominate the world with tank supremacy!”

    The song is getting to the heart of my darker needs all right.

  2. MB

    Thanks, Karen, for really bringing the depression home.

  3. Karen

    Mwah!

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