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With eight days left before Christmas, I wanted to spend today looking at several new Christmas albums on the shelves this season - perhaps a last minute gift guide for those who love Christmas music.

We start with Tony Bennett's new Christmas album with the Count Basie Orchestra.

"Snowfall: The Tony Bennett Christmas Album" is required for any Christmas music enthusiast's collection (novice to expert). I purchased this album at the beginning of the 2008 Christmas season and after much, MUCH airplay on my CD boombox, I'm convinced this one should be mandatory as well.

New swingin' renditions with the Basie sound of "I'll Be Home For Christmas", "Winter Wonderland", and "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" are definite highlights. The duet between father and daughter (Antonia Bennett) on "I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm" is fun, bouncy, and full of warmth - no surprise there.

Even at the tender age of 82, Tony's voice has no problems with the slower ballads like "Silver Bells", Vince Guaraldi's "Christmas Time Is Here", and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas".

This brings us to the best track on the CD - "O Christmas Tree". One solo piano and a solo legendary voice. It's stirring, moving, and conveys more Christmas feeling in 3:27 than most artists do in an entire CD.

For the record, I don't consider "My Favorite Things" a Christmas song but as I'm getting older, I'm learning to appreciate it more during this time of year.

It's doesn't hurt that Tony's version swings either...