I have a theory that one of the most beloved Carabao songs, “ทะเลใจ” (“Telay Jai” or “Ocean Heart”) may have been, in part, inspired by an extremely fortuitous misunderstanding of the Neil Young song “Heart of Gold.” This is based on something Add Carabao says at 1:16 into this concert video. The concert is named after his then-recent song and album “วันวานไม่มีเขา วันนี้ไม่มีเรา” (“If It Weren’t for Him/Her, Today There Wouldn’t Be Me”). Here he is introducing “Heart of Gold.” “ทะเลใจ” (“Telay Jai”) comes two songs later in the concert line-up. My English translation of his introduction is immediately below the video]:
I am able to have this day because I have a guitar and harmonica. And the first song in my life that I practiced with that pair of instruments was “Heart of Gold” by Neil Young, who is an artist I admire. One could say, “If There Wasn’t Him, Today There Wouldn’t Be Me” as well. I once wrote a song, “Yuenyong Imitates Neil Young.” [Yuenyoung is Add Carabao’s first name.] I’m still not shy. So I sing that I admire him. I once tried to contact him through Warner Music, to say “If there is an opportunity, I would like to meet Neil Young. I’d like talk with him. I’d like to ask him something, just one thing. I’d like to ask, ‘Heart of Gold,’ your meaning there, is it like a person is searching for the value of the heart? Or something like that?” That’s what I want to ask about. But, anyway, I’ll sing this song for you.
I watched this concert on DVD soon after it was released. This concert took place November 3, 2012, on a stage set up in front of P’Add’s house in Chiang Mai. Honestly, there was something wrong with P’Add’s voice that night, but the patter between the songs was very valuable for my translation project. As soon as I heard him say that he wanted to ask Neil Young if “searching for a heart of gold” meant searching for the value of the heart, I was astounded and immediately thought of “Telay Jai.” I felt I was the only person in the world who realized this important piece of Rock and Roll History: that Add Carabao had misinterpreted “Heart of Gold” perhaps helping inspire “Telay Jai.” When “Telay Jai” came just two songs later in the concert, I felt is was a confirmation that in Add’s mind there was a connection between the songs.
I finally did meet Add Carabao and forgot to ask him about my theory of a connection between “Heart of Gold” and “Telay Jai.” However, during this meeting he did ask me two different times if I understood “Telay Jai.” I said, “As well as anyone, I hope. It’s hard. I listened to you explain it in interviews.” He said, “It’s about Buddhism.” This song is definitely important to him.