Car Tunes: Sedan Delivery by Neil Young


At the outset let me say that I’m not completely sure what this song is about. It’s a bit surreal, but then the protagonist has a job making deliveries “of chemicals and sacred roots”. Sort of a latter day Junior Johnson. On the other hand, Neil Young is one of rock ‘n roll’s more notable car enthusiasts, the song is titled Sedan Delivery, and I’m a big fan of panel trucks and similar small commercial vehicles.  A sedan delivery is typically a two-door station wagon based commercial vehicle that has metal panels instead of glass in the cargo part of the vehicle. They were popular with on-the-road salesmen because there was room for samples and goods in the back but being car based it was a more comfortable ride than a truck. They also got a bit better mileage than truck based vans. If I’m not mistaken, the term sedan delivery was also sometimes used for two-door cars with no back seat and no divider between the trunk and passenger compartment. Cars like that were indeed popular with moonshine runners like Johnson. The song is very punkish rock ‘n roll and is best experienced live. Here are two versions of Sedan Delivery, both live, the first from 1979’s Live Rust, and the second a 1996 performance in Hamburg, Germany.

Lyrics after the jump.

“Sedan Delivery”

Last night I was cool
at the pool hall
Held the table for eleven games
Nothing was easier
than the first seven
I beat a woman with varicose veins.

She stopped to see
herself in the mirror
Fix her hair and hide heir veins
And she lost the game.

Next day I went to the dentist
He pulled some teeth
and I lost some blood
We’d like to thank you
for the cards you sent us
My wives and I were all choked up.

I recall how Caesar and Cleo
Made love in the Milky Way
They needed boats
and armies to get there
I know there’s a better way.

I saw the movie and I read the book
But when it happened to me
I sure was glad I had what it took
To get away.

Gotta get away, gotta get away
Gotta get away, gotta get away

I’m making another delivery
Of chemicals and sacred roots
I’ll hold what you have to give me
But I’ll use what I have to use.

The lasers are in the lab
The old man
is dressed in white clothes
Everybody says he’s mad
No one knows
the things that he knows.

No one knows, no one knows
No one knows, no one knows

I’m sleepin’ in every hallway
I just can’t accept the stares
I’m using too many covers
I’m warm now so I don’t care.

I’m thinkin’ of no one in my mind
Sedan delivery
is a job I know I’ll keep
It sure was hard to find.

Hard to find. hard to find
Hard to find. hard to find

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