“Look to Your Heart” - aka Sonic Blandishment

Although the third Sinatra compilation album to be released by Capitol, hitting stores in April of 1959, Look to Your Heart was actually the first Sinatra compilation to be completed in terms of recording dates, covering sessions from May 2, 1953 (“Anytime, Anywhere”) to August 19, 1955 (“Our Town”).  (The two This is Sinatra albums, though released prior to Look to Your Heart, contain tracks recorded later.)

It was also, regrettably, a step down the evolutionary ladder in terms of sonics, largely, if not exclusively, as a result of how the LP was compiled.  While 1956’s This is Sinatra had an LP master tape that consisted of spliced together session tapes, and 1958’s This is Sinatra, Volume Two had an LP master tape that was essentially a straight dub of session tapes, 1959’s Look to Your Heart had an LP master tape that used heavily processed dubs of session tapes, adding compression and a tonal edginess to the overall sound that are not especially pleasant compared to its release-order predecessors.

As golden-eared Martin Melucci (“MMM”) has intimated, the MFSL LP from 1983 is very well mastered, and I think that, on the whole, this LP has the best tone of any release of Look to Your Heart to date, but on at least ten (and likely eleven) of the twelve tracks, mastering engineer Jack Hunt had to work with compromised tapes, so the final result (except for on Fairy Tale, whose master was replaced at some point) can only be “just so good” and no better.  He did a great job cutting this LP, but it’s still heavily flawed, despite being probably the best version of the LP as a whole.  (The 1984 UK “Dell” LP is probably the only version that can compete with it over the course of all twelve cuts.)

I’ve created a reference chart for those who may wish to “roll their own” Look to Your Heart.  Allow me to explain a couple of terms within that chart:

•”Correct Mastering” - this is shorthand for a mastering that uses untampered master tapes and is neither compressed nor “stereo processed” a la Bob Norberg.  Many titles on Look to Your Heart have one or zero “correct masterings,” making it very challenging to assemble a 100% “correct” version.

•The Complete Capitol Singles Collection CD set - say what you may about Bob Norberg’s mastering style, he was a stickler for getting correct session tapes, and on several tracks, his mastered versions are the only uncompressed versions out there.  If you can “reverse engineer” his EQ, noise reduction, and stereo processing, you may be able to rescue a good mono version from his CDs.  Some tracks are less processed (and more easily “fixable”) than others.  Many will be improved somewhat simply by hitting the “mono” button.  (For the young readers who don’t know what that is, just cover one ear.  It has the same effect.)

•Duplicate Titles - There were two different Young-At-Heart EPs released by Capitol, and two CDs titled At the Movies. I’ve included the catalog number for the former, and the copyright date for the latter, to avoid confusion.

Without further ado:


1982 Australian Mr. Success LP

All other versions contain a very clumsy edit.  Only the 45 and 78 are complete.

Original 45

Notes on Look to Your Heart

Regarding complete versions, I posted the items in green over in the THIS IS SINATRA section regarding that compilation set:

Personally, I don’t view any of these compilation LPs to be sacrosanct in any fashion, as they are merely collections of non-LP tunes made available on LP, so I, personally, feel no need to gather these 12 songs together in a single mastering any more than I feel a need to rigidly gather, say, the tracks from The Beatles’ Hey Jude as a collection unto itself, and since these justly-famous songs have been issued and reissued so many times through the years, the odds that any single release will contain the absolute best-sounding version of all twelve tunes are slim to none, with slim not truly a factor. 

These are merely collections of previously released material, assembled largely in the names of convenience and commerce.  That said, there are many who do feel that these collections have significant merit as collections, and that the songs contained here do, in fact, belong together as a set package, and this album was in print [on LP], in true, original mono sound, with all 12 songs, [continuing now with new text for Look to Your Heart] starting in 1959, from MFSL in 1983, and from EMI in England and The Netherlands in 1984, appearing on CD twice, both times in the UK during the 1990s. 

Complete Versions:

Although the system is admittedly not perfect, I have devised a points system to help choose a “best choice” recommendation among these complete, 12-song, mono versions:

•Original USA Capitol LPs

•1983 MFSL LP

•1985 UK “Dell” LP

•1985 Holland “Dell” DMM LP

•1996 UK MFP-label This is Frank Sinatra, 1957-1957 2-CD set (which contains all 12 tracks in LP running order)

•1998 UK Look to Your Heart CD (from the 21-CD boxed set)

Each of these sets was considered as we did the “singles” comparison pages (see links above), and I’ve roughly converted these ratings into a points scale of up to 5 points each:

Using this 1 to 5 scale for each song, then taking the totals and dividing by the number of tracks (12), we get the following results, with 5 being the best possible score:

•1983 MFSL Look to Your Heart LP: 2.79

•1985 UK and Holland Look to Your Heart LPs: 2.55

•Original D pressing Look to Your Heart LP: 2.25

•1998 UK Boxed Set EMI CD: 2.25

•1996 UK MFP This is Frank Sinatra, 1953-1957 CD: 1.66

All versions are compressed, but the EP was (uniquely) cut from un-tampered tapes with less-bothersome compression added at the cutting stage.