Over the decades, James Brown collaborated with, and encouraged, some of funk's leading ladies. During the '60s and early '70s in particular, every Brown show featured a 15- or 20-minute break when he would leave the stage, turning it over to a young female singer who'd perform her own mini set -- an event that became a tradition and an important part of the revue. It is these women who are collected across this marvelous and historically potent two-disc set. The first disc (1960s) kicks off with Bea Ford's "You've Got the Power." A duet with Brown, it's a sweetly charged ballad with a sleepy tempo, and marks the only song the duo ever recorded, although Ford would stay with Brown for nearly a year after. From January 1962, Yvonne Fair's "I Found You," meanwhile, would be reworked by Brown himself in 1965 as "I Got You (I Feel Good)." Other '60s highlights include the 1964 Anna King/Bobby Byrd duet "Baby Baby Baby" and Fair's impassioned, powerful tribute to strong women doing what they have to do, "You Can Make It if You Try." The 1970s disc features long "sets" from Brown's most successful protégés, Vicki Anderson (who also makes an appearance on the '60s collection) and Lyn Collins, together consuming 16 of the 19 tracks. Standouts from Anderson's portion are the supremely funky "The Message From the Soul Sisters, Pts. 1-2," which features both outstanding horn arrangements and some elastic bass from Bootsy Collins, and the always appreciated classic "I'm Too Tough for Mr. Big Stuff (Hot Pants)." The Collins tracks collect many of her chart hits, including "Think (About It)" and "Mama Feelgood," but the most interesting inclusion is the long "disco version" of the girl-powered "You Can't Love Me, If You Don't Respect Me" -- previously only available on a promo. Rounding up the 1970s tracks are the traditional gospel of "The Lord Will Make a Way Somehow, Pts. 1-2," beautifully wrought by Kay Robinson, and Martha High's duet with Brown, "Summertime." This is a crucial collection of the original women who rock -- the soul and funk divas who paved the way.