Released: October 1977
Chart Peak: #5
Weeks Charted: 34
Certified Double Platinum: 7/21/87
Skynyrd's popularity can best be judged by the enormous success of its previous live album, One More From The Road. In this, its first studio release since Gimme Back My Bullets, Skynyrd creates the same firepower captured live. The rip roaring three guitar lineup consisting of Gary Rossington, Allen Collins and relative newcomer Steve Gaines burns with the same raging intensity as the flame on the LP cover. Ronnie Van Zant's vocals are as gutsy as ever and best reflect pure Southern blues boogie. Each of the eight tunes are delivered in a ferocious power-charged guitar flurry that doesn't let up. This is rock'n'roll boogie at its finest. Best cuts: "One More Time," "I Never Dreamed," "What's Your Name," "You Got That Right."
- Billboard, 1977.
- Robert Christgau, Christgau's Record Guide, 1981.
- Bill Shapiro, Rock & Roll Review: A Guide to Good Rock on CD, 1991.
The addition of lead guitarist and singer Steve Gaines goaded Ronnie Van Zant and the band into a dramatic rebirth. Street Survivors featured tighter songs, strong melodies, and an exciting element of vocal interplay between Van Zant and Gaines ("You Got That Right").
- Rick Clark, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.
It doesn't get much better than Street Survivors, a molten slab of fiery three-guitar Southern rock with just the right amount of country and a fantastic collection of songs -- including "You Got That Right," "That Smell" and "What's Your Name." * * * * *
- Alan Paul, Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 1996.
(2008 Deluxe Edition) Three days after the release of Street Survivors in 1977, Lynyrd Skynyrd singer Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Steve Gaines died in a plane crash that severely injured the rest of the band members. But even without the added resonance of tragedy, the album's second track, "That Smell," would have stood out in the band's catalog. It bites the chord progression and the apocalyptic vibe of "All Along the Watchtower" for a tale of the "smell of death" that surrounds a character trapped in drug addiction (and a pretty heavy habit at that: The lyrics allude to coke, weed, alcohol and ludes). The swampy groove and Van Zant's bluesy, understated vocals -- listen to his offhandedly contemptuous delivery of the line "stuck a needle in your arm" -- manage to sustain the ominous mood even when the female backing singers harmonize on the phrase "Hell, yeah!" Early versions of "That Smell" (including a slower take that comes in at seven and a half minutes, thanks to epic, "Freebird"-worthy guitar duels) are the highlight of the bonus disc here, which includes a more stripped-down early version of the entire album. Street Survivors was the most meticulously crafted record of the original Skynyrd's eleven-year career and, as a result, their most consistent. Album opener and classic rock-radio staple "What's Your Name" is the second-greatest groupie song of all time (next to "Stray Cat Blues"), and the Allmans-esque "I Never Dreamed" is its flip side, a redneck-emo tale of lady-killer machismo thwarted by love: "I've had a thousand, maybe more/ But never one like you," Van Zant sings, as the lead guitars match him, lament for lament. Perhaps best of all is the band's raucously virtuosic take on Merle Haggard's "Honky Tonk Night Time Man," which overflows with gorgeous country riffs that sound like pure chicken-fried joy. And Van Zant's voice is rich and authentic enough to make you mourn the pure country album he never got to record. * * * 1/2
- Brian Hiatt, Rolling Stone, 3/6/08.
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