Certain Songs #1262: Neil Young & Crazy Horse – “Sedan Delivery”

Album: Rust Never Sleeps
Year: 1979

Recorded at St. Paul Civic Center on October 15, 1978

So yeah, this is the song we named our band after. Pretty sure it was Doc who came up with it. And while it musically represented the Neil Young + The Replacements vibe we were going after, it wasn’t a song that we ever did, probably because that would have a bit too much.

That said, with its constant shifts in tempo — alternating a speedy almost blues-shuffle with slower, almost dreamy passages — “Sedan Delivery” is one of Neil Young’s weirder rockers, especially in the lyrics department, where each verse is chock full of vivid, not-quite-right imagery.

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

The musical anchor of “Sedan Delivery” is Neil Young and Frank Sampedro doubling on an distorted riff during the fast parts that is heavy-sounding but light-feeling, so when they get to the slower parts it feels almost natural.

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)
Gotta get away
(Gotta get away)
Gotta get away
(Gotta get away)
Gotta get outta here

“Sedan Delivery” was originally recorded for the abandoned Chrome Dreams album, and while it still has the riff and the basic structure, everything was at the slower tempo — so it seemed way more normal than the near-unhinged version we got on Rust Never Sleeps.

And so the deeper we get into “Sedan Delivery,” the wilder it gets, especially during some of the call-and-response parts at the end as Sampedro, Ralph Molina and Billy Talbot whoop it up, sometimes even together, but mostly not, especially after the last verse.

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 a job
(Hard to find)
Hard to find
(Hard to find!!!)
Hard to find
(Hard to find!!!)
Hard to find

And yeah, I ended up substituting “band” for “job” during that last verse in my head, and love the way they trade off “hard to find” while Neil tosses one last crazy guitar solo — the solos on “Sedan Delivery” are plentiful, but they’re all short, as befitting a song that seems like it had at least some punk rock influence, and of course leads into one of Neil’s career-defining anthems.

“Sedan Delivery”

“Sedan Delivery” live at the Cow Palace, SF, 1978

“Sedan Delivery” from Chrome Dreams, 1975

“Sedan Delivery” live in Hamburg, 1996

“Sedan Delivery” live at Bonnaroo, 2003

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