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There’s always the sinking feeling when tracking the progress, or lack thereof, of some early figures in rock’s evolution, especially those with a bit more name recognition at the time, be it with the public or behind the scenes, that their forays into this new genre of music were tenuous at best, opportunistic at worst. The creeping sense that their allegiance wasn’t necessarily to the music itself, the freedom it offered and the potential it had to define the artist going forward, but rather to the opportunity to latch onto a trend and get a hit for themselves, or maybe just to satisfy the record company’s belief that this stuff had potential and should at least be explored before the well dried up.

For someone like Tom Archia, first call saxophone sessionist extraordinaire, this likelihood was even more pronounced. Whether rock ‘n’ roll as a whole succeeded beyond anyone’s wildest imagination or if it wound up being nothing more than a fuse that sparked and hissed loudly when first lit but resulted in a commercial dud with nothing but a lot of smoke to show for it, probably mattered little to Archia. His career – as he saw it – probably would go on virtually unchanged either way. Oh, sure, rock’s growing reliance on the honking tenor saxophone would result in a few more calls for studio work for him and his ilk, but surely he figured that guys like him weren’t going to make their name on such gigs, were they?

This wasn’t jazz after all, where the individual components of an ensemble were highlighted on stage and in the trades and whose names would be spoken with reverence by its rabid fan base. Rock music was gaudy, crass, frantic, disposable stuff, little more than Saturday night dance music. Fit for playing at roadhouses and barrooms, the kind of joints where the patrons were as apt to forget their OWN name after too many drinks as they were to remember YOUR name as the guy who worked them into such a frenzy by blowing your horn for them to groove to all night.

So while Archia might be happy to have the opportunity to get his name out there as a recording artist himself, he’d probably be more than content to simply be able to keep working steadily behind a wide array of acts from across the musical spectrum, and if he was lucky have it result with consistent live gigs at high class establishments where he could set up shop and play the music that appealed to him most rather than follow whatever trend was hot at the moment.

Still if anyone was capable of churning out the kind of gritty sides that rock was already becoming known for, Tom Archia was, so it’s with more than a little interest that we catch up with him to see what he’s laying down and to find out if he can elevate himself to a position of prominence in rock after a promising start back in November.

If You Want To Shout Children…
Well, if you DO want to shout, children, you’re in the wrong place, for this is the most subdued side bearing Archia’s name we’ve yet encountered. His momentum hasn’t just stalled at this point but is in serious risk of going backwards and rolling helplessly down the hill they’ve been struggling to climb.

Unlike the racy, off-color … some might say lewd … earlier efforts of Fishing Pole and Ice Man Blues that could at least be assured of drawing a modicum of horny interest from whatever deviants found themselves near a jukebox with a nickel to spare, If I Feel Like This Tomorrow has no such chance at notoriety going for it.

Those first two records from Archia employed the services of Buster Bennett and George Kirby as vocalists, but for this one Dr. Jo Jo Adams gets the honors (if he’s a medical doctor let’s just say I can only hope you didn’t go to him for more than a paper cut in need of a bandage, or else I envision a serious malpractice charge). Perhaps they avoided more of the same type of off-color material because the good Doctor didn’t practice that kind of medicine (wink-wink). They could’ve also been worried of backing themselves in a stylistic corner by releasing nothing but obscene material.

Or maybe they just ran out of dirty limericks to set to music.

Whatever the case this song will need to rely on the far more elusive skills of musical construction and competent singing to draw enough interest to make it worth your while (and your nickel) than those earlier sides, which if nothing else promised at least mild temporary arousal for your time investment.

Unfortunately If I Feel Like This Tomorrow is decidedly mundane on all such counts.

She’s So Small In The Front, But In The Back She Sticks Way Out
The intro, with Archia’s blaring horn and drums kicking it on the afterbeat to make sure you got the message, is a rousing build-up without any legitimate excitement attached. It’s nothing but ceremonial fanfare for a royal procession where ritual takes the place of genuine enthusiasm. It’s artificial sounding, like they needed a way to grab your attention and settled on something without any substance to it just to get that out of the way.

This belief is reinforced when Adams comes in sounding rather subdued, bemoaning the loss of his woman but not seeming altogether sad about it despite what he proclaims in the first stanza.

As an actor playing a role he’s already confused as to which way to go and he’s not helped much in that regard by the headliner of this performance either. Archia apparently hasn’t even been told of this supposed breakup because he sounds rather jaunty behind him, which certainly doesn’t help establish the proper mood… mostly because it can’t settle on which mood they’re going for.

Those conflicting intents continue from a rather unlikely source, which is Adams himself. After his dejection in the opening verses he suddenly declares he’s going out to party and get drunk, thereby changing the outlook he’s presenting by quite a considerable faction. Alright, you say to yourself, by all means let’s explore THIS theme! Surely it’s more in line with what else Archia and company have attached their names to thus far, besides, if nothing else it at least provides the opportunity for some raunchy details to draw a smile and maybe some laughs.

But just when you think he’s settled on that remedy for his predicament, he reverts back to rhapsodizing about his former girlfriend by offering up a somewhat suggestive critique of her physical attributes. Yet if he lost her is he supposed to be distraught over this or turned on by it? You never figure that out because by the sounds of it he hasn’t figured it out either.

The drums that lead into the break are rousingly effective and leave us with some hope for what may follow, but then Archia dampens that mood with his solo which sounds as if it was HIS girl who left HIM forlorn in all of this, not Adams. Maybe the earlier lyrics finally sank in and he realized this should become a dirge. If so he should’ve informed Adams, for when the good doctor returns after that brief maudlin interlude his disposition has changed yet again, telling one and all how she:

“Shake it to left, shake it to the right, she shakes it in the middle, she shakes it JUST RIGHT!”.


Has he found himself a NEW girl? Has the old one reconsidered and come back to give him one more night of carnal ecstasy? Or has he actually wandered off and gotten drunk during Archia’s solo and doesn’t know what the hell he’s spouting on about now?

The more pressing question throughout all this though is: Should you care?

The answer, I think, is pretty obvious.

No. You shouldn’t.

But by the sounds of it Adams doesn’t really care either, as he closes the song out by delivering scatted wordless gibberish that’s completely out of place, but which pretty much sums up the entire dizzy affair.


If I Feel Like This Tomorrow I Don’t Know What I’ll Do
I’ll go out on a limb and say that this was all probably hastily arranged at the last minute, with unconnected verses strung together with no thought as to building a sensible storyline, or incorporating the musical accompaniment into said storyline. I’d even venture it was unlikely they had any idea they were going to cut this song five minutes before the tapes started rolling and it’s even more unlikely they were granted a second take to work out the song’s obvious shortcomings.

Thus Tom Archia’s swansong as a featured rocker winds up being nothing more than a haphazard rush job that no one involved took too seriously.

In the end that actually might be the appropriate epitaph for the talented Archia. There’s little evidence that he ever took his own recording career very seriously. He gave his all in the studio when backing others, because THAT he did take seriously, that was his job, that’s where he built his reputation and derived his greatest artistic pleasures, and ultimately that’s how he should be remembered. He was a sessionist through and through and one of the best in his day.

All of the rest of this though, that was a sideline that he neither sought nor worked hard at maintaining. While it could be decent enough even without much foresight, such as on Fishin’ Pole or Mean And Evil Baby on its flip side, featuring Sheba Griffin on vocals, it also could be a disorganized mess as evidenced by If I Feel Like This Tomorrow, and oftentimes it was only the quality of the players which saved some of their sides from utter disaster.

Here they can’t even manage that.

Luckily Archia had another more appropriate job to fall back on (presumably so too did the “doctor” – heh, heh), but that still doesn’t mean that he won’t be missed on the scene, not necessarily for what he left behind in terms of released output under his own name, but rather for what he may have been capable of delivering had everyone involved approached this aspect of his recording activity with the same earnestness that he gave to his primary musical pursuits.


(Visit the Artist page of Tom Archia for the complete archive of his records reviewed to date)