A starter pack of funk albums

Prince said "if you can describe it - it ain't funky" - another way of looking at it is funk music is always described as being "funky"; you try describing it without falling into that word.

The other week my big brother visited from out of town. We had a few laughs - mostly about eggs. And in the background played Curtis/Live! - so happy to have that album once again, discovering the music of Curtis Mayfield was one of the great revelations in my life, music-wise.

So, the next day I'm giving big bro a ride to the airport and the car is playing Wise Up Ghost by Elvis Costello and The Roots (still fairly hooked on that album; so easy to like, so good to roll on with). And me and the brother get to chatting about funk albums. He has some. He wants some more. It's his birthday coming up soon - so finally I know what to get him.

I have a pretty good collection of funk, jazz, blues and soul records - it's the basis (usually) of my DJ sets up at Motel (played last night; I'm there again tomorrow night if you're in Wellington).

So I could pick a few of my own favourites - and that would include albums by Sly & The Family Stone, Baby Huey & The Babysitters, James Brown, Parliament/Funkadelic, The Ohio Players, Stevie Wonder, Isaac Hayes, Betty Davis, Doris Troy and then I get to thinking of all the great compilations, and artists that are classed as soul or blues but to me are funky - Albert Collins and Albert King have some funk to their playing, Freddie King does too...so many options. What's the difference between funk and soul?

As I suggested, I'm going to need some help narrowing it down.

So here's your Friday question/challenge/discussion-point. You are charged with buying a Funk Starter Kit for a friend of family member. You have to buy five albums - individual artists, original albums - no compilations, no best-ofs; live albums are allowed. What do you pick? What's your starter pack of essential funk albums that you would plan for a friend or family member? What are the five funk albums you couldn't be without; the five you think of straight away, the five you would want to pass on to someone else? 

You can also check out Off the Tracks for The Vinyl Countdown, reviews and other posts.