Notes on  Like Never Before

This is a bit of an oddball compilation: intriguing, certainly, and not commonly seen, as it was issued as a bonus LP along with a mediocre 10-LP mail-order set from the Longines Symphonette (a later incarnation of the Capitol Record Club) called The Works.  Recording dates range from Sinatra’s very first Capitol session of April 2, 1953, through a No One Cares session of March 25, 1959, with some tracks in mono and some in stereo.  The ten songs here were largely unknown at the time of release, with some receiving their first-ever commercial release.

For two songs, this album has unaltered, original stereo mixes that, even in 2017, remain unavailable anywhere else, so it is of value to collectors not just for its relative rarity, but also for it’s unique and excellent sonics on at least two tracks.


A song-by-song breakdown, in order recorded (click dates to access audio comparisons):

April 2, 1953: I’m Walking Behind You - 45/78 single, previously on 10” sampler LP Today’s Top Hits, Volume 10, 1953.  Mastering: Very good.

December 8, 1953 - Take a Chance - 45/78 single, previously on LP in UK only.  First USA LP release.  Mastering: Excellent.

March 1, 1954: Day In - Day Out - from Frank Sinatra/Ray Anthony EP Melody of Love, 1954.  First LP release.  Mastering: Poor - fake stereo with reverb added.

September 23, 1954: Don’t Change Your Mind About Me - 45/78 single, Feb. 1955, with previous LP releases in Europe.  First US LP release.  Mastering: Good.

January 6, 1956: Memories of You - originally intended for Songs for Swingin’ Lovers, and a first-ever release here.  Mastering: Poor - fake stereo.

April 5, 1956: There’s a Flaw in My Flue - from sessions for Close to You, with the Hollywood String Quartet.  First-ever release.  Mastering: Sub-par, with tape dropouts and volume problems.

April 9, 1956: Five Hundred Guys - 45/78 single, released on LP in England, 1961.  First-ever USA LP release.  Mastering: OK, with some minor tape dropouts.

October 16, 1958 - STEREO: I Couldn’t Care Less - First-ever release.  Mastering: Excellent, “Top Choice” for this title.  This is the only release of the original stereo mix in “full-width” stereo.  Other releases are inferior remixes or have altered, narrowed stereo versions (first appearing on 1978’s The Rare Sinatra UK LP) derived from this unaltered and excellent Like Never Before full-width mix.

March 25, 1959 - STEREO: The One I Love (Belongs to Somebody Else) - First-ever release.  Recorded during the No One Cares sessions.  Mastering: Excellent, “Top Choice” for this title.  Similar to the situation with I Couldn’t Care Less, this is the only release of this song in its intended, full-width stereo form.  All other releases either have the left channel panned toward the center (as on The Rare Sinatra UK LP), or are missing two intended edits.

Each track was compared within the “Sinatra Singles” section of this website, and earned a score on this scale:

Out of ten tracks, two are “top choices,” but the average score for the entire album is 2.9, so on the whole, this album scores in the “Medium Quality” range for sound quality.  That said, the two unique-to-this-set stereo mixes, both of which scored as top recommended choices, may make this a “must purchase” for those who want the absolute-best sound where Sinatra is concerned.  (Warning:  Finding a truly clean, quiet copy can be challenging.  This is 1973 vinyl from Capitol’s Winchester plant, produced for mail-order sales.)

To hear audio clips from this album, click on the dates above.