CD Johnson (CD 6491109),
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  • 1. Ain't What I Call Home
    2. Outta Luck
    3. Creep
    4. Drop of the Hat
    5. Doin' It Again
    6. Magneto and Titanium Man
    7. Need My Head
    8. American Dream
    9. No Friends
    10. Comin' True
    11. What You Want
    12. Real Job
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 1026

  • Credits
    ProducerRandy Burns; The Pontiac Brothers

    The Pontiac Brothers: Ward Dotson (vocals, guitar); Matt Simon (vocals); Kurt Bauman (bass); D.A. Valdez (drums).
    Additional personnel: Ian McLagan (piano).
    After the ragged-but-right hard rock triumph of Fiesta en la Biblioteca, the Pontiac Brothers stripped their sound back just a bit on Johnson, which eased off on the bombast in favor of a leaner, more roots-centered sound (perhaps in deference to their special guest, former Faces keyboardist Ian McLagan). While the band still had power to spare, the production was more straightforward, with a cleaner, sharper tone replacing the thicker wallop of Fiesta. And though the band sounds like they're in good humor as always, there isn't the same degree of wit on Johnson; the goofy road stories of "Ain't What I Call Home" and "Need My Head's fade-out Elvis tribute make it clear this band was still in touch with their goofiness, but despite the fact the band was playing as well as ever, there's an edge of weariness in the songs that suggests the fun was starting to go out of the act. (And "Creep" sounds more like padding than anything else.) However, the Pontiac Brothers had set themselves a high standard with Fiesta, and if Johnson isn't quite as good, it comes close enough to be welcome on any rock fan's stereo; Matt Simon never sang this well, Ward Dotson's guitar work is all primitive genius, Kurt Bauman and D.A. Valdez hold down the rhythm like they were born to it, and the final track, "Real Job," is perhaps their greatest song, a defiant call to arms for every short-on-cash rocker struggling against the odds. The Pontiac Brothers called it quits after Johnson (they briefly reunited for one more album in 1992), but one listen to this record confirms that they went down swinging. ~ Mark Deming

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