Street Survivors—Deluxe Edition
By David Chiu
In hindsight, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 1977 album Street Survivors is somewhat chillingly prophetic of the tragic fate that befell the band when members Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines were killed in a plane crash. It is represented in the now-classic “That Smell,” a cautionary song about excess and death; and more visually on the album cover in which the band members are surrounded by flames. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding the record, Street Survivors is typical Skynyrd in its amalgam of Southern rock, country, R&B and soul, from another signature tune “What’s Your Name” through the jazzy boogie of “I Know a Little” to the lovely “I Never Dreamed.” As on previous Skynyrd efforts, the soulful grit of singer Van Zant and the guitars of Allen Collins, Gary Rossington and Gaines highlight the band’s sound. The second disc of this reissue features an earlier version of the album recorded at Criteria Studios that was eventually scrapped, in addition to live tracks from a California concert in 1977. Street Survivors remains a fine album and a swansong to the first and most memorable era of Skynyrd’s career.