Natural Blues
by Moby

Album: Play (1999)
Charted: 11
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • "Natural Blues" samples a 1937 recording by American folklorist Alan Lomax of Vera Hall's "Trouble So Hard." Vera Hall was a 1930s country blues singer and her recorded output was largely preserved via field recordings made by Lomax. Moby first came across this song on the Lomax collection Alabama: From Lullabies to Blues.
  • This was released as the fifth single from Play, the album that made Moby an unlikely international star.
  • Moby recalled to Rolling Stone: "It almost didn't make it on the record. I had some friends over and I was playing them songs off the record and they thought it was too weird. I couldn't get a good mix of it. This guy in England, 1 Giant Leap, he mixed that song and did a really great job so I was able to include it on the record."
  • Christina Ricci stars in the video for this song, which won the 2000 MTV Europe Music Award for Best Video. The clip, directed by David LaChappelle, opens with an aged Moby being wheeled through a nursing home. While the other elderly patients stare dejectedly at the TV, Moby pulls out a scrapbook of his younger days when he was happy and energetic. Some of the images appear on the TV screen, including scenes with a girlfriend played by actress Fairuza Balk. Christina Ricci appears at the end as an angel who carries him off to heaven.

    LaChappelle grew up visiting the nursing home where his mother worked as a nurse and became friendly with a woman who used to be a famous pianist but was forgotten in her old age. He thought of her when he came up with the concept for the video. He told Beliefnet: "I was thinking that you can have this fabulous life, young and having fun, and in 60 years, who the hell knows where we could be? We could all be forgotten, warehoused somewhere."

    The notion also gave him a nightmare that he incorporated into the clip. He explained: "I had this nightmare a while back, a dream about how I was in a wheelchair and I was really old, with long gray hair and a beard. I couldn't move or anything and I was stuck in this place. That's all the dream was - left in this hallway, with all these other old people. I woke up so relieved not to be there."
  • Moby re-recorded "Natural Blues" with Gregory Porter and Amythyst Kiah for his 2021 Reprise album. The record finds Moby and the Budapest Art Orchestra re-imagining some of his classic songs with new arrangements for orchestra and acoustic instruments. Moby said of this new version:

    "I've had songs that are very despairing, and some that are celebratory, but more often than not I guess my music lives in a bittersweet in-between. Gregory Porter and Amythyst Kiah's performances bring a new sense of yearning to the song that encompasses both light and dark tones."
  • The music video for the new version of "Natural Blues" features footage from the artist's Moby Doc film made in collaboration with director Rob Bralver. The clip captures Moby in the high desert mountainside, along with other environmental elements including space travel, while images of Porter and Kiah singing are interspersed throughout the visual.
  • This was used in these TV shows:

    The Looming Tower ("Y2K" - 2018)
    Cold Case ("Discretion" - 2004, "Wunderkind - 2007)
    Joan Of Arcadia ("The Devil Made Me Do It" - 2003)

    And in these movies:

    Basic (2003)
    Freddy Got Fingered (2001)
    Shadow Hours (2000)

Comments: 1

  • Lige from The OzarksWonderful song!
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