Where would R&B be today without the likes of such heart-stirring pioneers as Ruth Brown, Etta James, Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin? This year has borne witness to an array of albums by a female

Where would R&B be today without the likes of such heart-stirring pioneers as Ruth Brown, Etta James, Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin? This year has borne witness to an array of albums by a female contingent ranging from seasoned vets to wet-behind-the-ears newcomers. That list includes Beyoncé; Janet Jackson; Monica; LeToya; Corinne Bailey Rae; India.Arie; Mary J. Blige, who actually released her popular comeback late last year; Gladys Knight; and Natalie Cole.

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