One of the funkiest was Rick James, the wild funk-rock genius of "Super Freak". Buffalo-born, he escaped to Canada as a draft-dodger and played in the Mynah Birds with Neil Young and Bruce Palmer until he was busted and thrown in the clink. He played on the amazing psych record by Bruce Palmer (The Cycle Is Complete) as Rick Matthews, before transforming into the larger-than-life funk god. And the rest is dirty history.
From 1981's Street Songs: