Here’s a clip of Jeff Buckley performing one of my favourites of his cover versions, Porter Wagoner’s “Satisfied Mind”. A version of the song can be found on the posthumously released Sketches (For My Sweetheart the Drunk), the follow-up album which Buckley was working on before his death in Memphis in 1997.
One of the things which most strikes me about this song, besides how prescient it is that Buckley covered it so close to his own death, is how old this song sounds. It could be a turn of the century folk tune, or at least a church hymn from the 20s. No. It was written in 1955 when it charted at #1 on the country charts by its writer Porter Wagoner. Along with “The Long Black Veil”, which was written around the same time in 1959, it’s a great example of a tune that seems to kick up the dust of a mythical past, even though the song itself was written in the latter half of the 20th century.
In any case, the song is about the folly of materialism, and the immeasurable worth of a clean conscience and happy spirit. I like to think that Buckley covered it because he was striving toward it, or perhaps even had it, before he drowned in the prime of his life and at the height of his popularity a little over 11 years ago on May 29, his body discovered on June 4. Appropriately, this song was played at Jeff Buckley’s funeral.
Rest in Peace, Jeff.
Jeff Buckley image courtesy of Merri Cyr