Although the Crusaders could not have known it at the time, their recording of "Street Life" (which features a memorable vocal by Randy Crawford) was a last hurrah for the 20-year old group. Their recordings of the next few years would decline in interest until the band gradually faded away in the '80s. However this particular set is well worth picking up for the 11-minute title cut and there is good playing by the three original members (Wilton Felder on tenor, soprano and electric bass, keyboardist Joe Sample and drummer Stix Hooper) along with guitarist Barry Finnerty; horn and string sections, plus additional guitarists are utilized on Sample's commercial but listenable arrangements.
Dream Street captures Peggy Lee at her most intimate and melancholy – a song cycle exploring love and loss in uncompromisingly frank terms, it strips away the saccharine and schmaltz so common among the singer's Decca sessions to effectively create the first truly adult music of her career. Lee occupies the same harrowing emotional territory staked out by Frank Sinatra via the landmark In the Wee Small Hours, investing the material with the kind of heartbreak and longing that belies the whole "easy listening" tag – this is music shorn of pretense and artifice, as intense as a primal scream yet beautiful in the way only art of this magnitude can be.