Monday, March 08, 2010


Patty Scala (aka Eettap) is a 55 year old jailbird, former stripper, drug addict, bulimic, and teen mother who has bounced around the Midwest and West since childhood. At age 30, she got a guitar and started writing country/folky songs, often with lyrics inspired by her tumultuous life. Her daughter Renee has encouraged this, even getting her a four-track recorder and making the tape I'm posting here. And, yes, her first recordings were made in jail.

Renee says: "My mom has always been different and I think that's how she got into drugs...I could never see her fitting in in the straight world. She was arrested for smuggling heroin across the Mexican border. when she was seventeen my grandpa drove down and slept outside her cell until she was released. She's had her throat slit by drug thugs that broke into our house (my brother and I both obsessively check the locks on our doors to this day), been beat up by cops, been beat to hell by boyfriends...To me these are the boring details. But the thing about my mom is that she isn't your ordinary person. My mom used to tell me there were other dimensions, she has said that she feels like she is living in a dream."

Video by Renee of Patty singing a song "about being picked on in prison."

Patty writes that her childhood was unsettled by constant moving and her parent's marital discord, and tho she wasn't around all the time for her kids, she clearly adores them. Renee (who records her self as elevenbrains) says, "I guess I'm sending this [tape to Music For Maniacs] because I'm trying to save my mom in a way. she has lost her apartment and her car, she has no steady place to live, and she is on the verge of losing all her stuff in storage. Once things go downhill they usually keep going until she ends up incarcerated.
so, when I say "save" I'm not talking about money, I'm talking about self-worth, I'm talking about a sense of purpose. I've tried to explain to her that there is a whole world of people that don't listen to the radio, that would appreciate her songwriting and maybe she will see that she is a special person."

Video: "this one is about her boyfriend going to jail."

I love music.....I think music is one of the things that makes life bearable.

Oh did I forget to say that I ended up in prison a couple of times because of my drug use. Second time I had a guitar sent in and spent a lot of time teaching myself guitar.

I wrote a few really good songs during my last stint and I doubt if I would of written them if I hadn't been in prison. So I can say some good came out of that.

What I would really like to do is just write songs and have that be the way I make money...If Willie Nelson walked up to me and said " I really like that song and I want to sing it, but we need to change this, this and that." I would say "CHANGE IT"...Let's do it . How much money you going to pay me? "


I've eq-ed it and corrected the balance, but it's still low-fi, appropriate for such from-the-gut acoustic performances. The last few tracks - the ones recorded in jail - are really low-fi. Not much I could do about those. The jail tape featured a number of covers, and I'm including a version of Neil Young's "The Needle and The Damage Done" - a revealing choice, even if she doesn't know the words. She's quite positive and upbeat, tho, and the videos reveal that she's a bit shy and embarrassed about performing and being recorded.

01 I Can't Take It Anymore
02 Oh Mama (What About Me)
03 Girl In Blue
04 Replaceable Man
05 Pictures in The Clouds [one of a couple songs performed on electric keyboard, giving it an almost circus-like feel]
06 Fonly
07 You Don't Even Know My Name [Renee's favorite]
08 Midnight Revelation [this is one of my fave's: a sweet Jonathan Richman-like love song]
.....from the jail tape:
09 Daddy Please

10 Feel It From Your Heart
11 Mr Right
12 monologue-The Needle and the Damage Done


Jed said...

This is lovely stuff. I particularly like the one-two of "You Don't Even Know My Name" and "f'only." Thanks for sharing these songs.

Holly said...

Thank you, Renee, & Patty for sharing this!