Hughie Flint (pictured with John Mayall)
Hughie Flint was born on 15th March 1941and is perhaps best known for his stint in John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, playing drums on the infamous Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton album, released in 1966 and affectionately known to fans as the "Beano Album". He began playing drums at age nine. In his early teens, he developed an avid interest in jazz. In the late 1950s, he met future bandleader John Mayall at a local youth club in Wythenshawe, where John was teaching music. Hughie was 17 at the time. They discussed jazz and within a few years, Hughie was visiting John and his family, where he was introduced to blues.
Hughie joined John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in April 1964. He was the band’s first drummer. After leaving Mayall’s line-up, he formed McGuinness-Flint in 1967, with Tom McGuinness (who had worked with Clapton in The Roosters). McGuinness-Flint scored UK hits with “When I’m Dead And Gone” and “Malt And Barley Blues”. In 1972, they teamed up with Dennis Coulson and Dixie Dean to record “Lo And Behold,” a collection of then unreleased Bob Dylan songs. In February 1979, Hughie was a founding member of the Blues Band with Paul Jones (ex-Manfred Mann) and Tom McGuinness (ex-Roosters and Manfred Mann). Although Hughie left the band after several years, the Blues Band celebrated its 25th Anniversary in 2004.
Flint played in the Bluesbreakers on and off for 5 years, playing an integral part to their unique blues based sound - undoubtedly influenced on Flint's part by his life long love of jazz music. Flint also appeared on the Bluesbreakers albums Crusade (1967), A Hard Road (1967) and So Many Roads (1969), although principal drumming duties in the group were eventually taken by Aynsley Dunbar. In 1970, Flint formed McGuinness Flint with Tom McGuinness, former guitarist with Manfred Mann. They scored a no.2 in the UK that year with "When I'm Dead And Gone", which was followed in 1971 by another hit single, "Malt and Barley Blues", which reached no.5 in the UK Chart. They also cut their self-titled debut album in 1970, which reached the Top 10 of the UK Album Chart in 1971. However the early success of the group proved to be short lived.
Despite featuring the production skills of legendary producer Glyn Johns and the accompaniment of veteran pianist Nicky Hopkins, their second album Happy Birthday, Ruthy Baby proved to be the end of the original line-up. Multi-instrumentalist band members Benny Gallagher and Graham Lyle left the group following its release. McGuinness and Flint teamed up with Dennis Coulson and Dixie Dean to release the album Lo and Behold in 1972, which consisted solely of obscure Bob Dylan numbers. Shortly after this, Coulson left.
Despite the release of two further albums and a Greatest Hits collection in 1973, the band split in 1975. Also, around this time, Flint joined the Bonzo Dog Band for their final original album, Let's Make Up And Be Friendly. Flint's last band based venture was in The Blues Band, a supergroup composed of Dave Kelly, Gary Fletcher, McGuinness and fellow Manfred Mann veteran singer Paul Jones. Their debut, The Official Bootleg Album, was released in 1980 and Flint also appeared on their follow-up albums Ready (1980) and Itchy Feet (1981) before departing.
By the late 1980s Flint had left the music industry and he dropped the ('ie') from his name, preferring to be known simply as Hugh Flint. He took the job of porter at Mansfield College in the University of Oxford in 1988. He kept this job until 2005. During this period of his life he stopped playing drum kits as such, preferring to dabble in percussion. Although steering clear of any full time commitment to the music industry, he remained in contact with John Mayall and appeared on the TV documentary Rock Family Trees to discuss the history of the Bluesbreakers and the many off-shoots of the band.
Besides his notable appearances in the aforementioned groups, he has also featured on records by Georgie Fame, Jack Dupree and Tom Newman amongst others. Hughie Flint is now retired.
Message from Hughie Flint to the www.wythit.com Discussion Forum Message Board:
Title: ‘Wythenshawe Boy’Posted: Thursday, 20 September 2007 10:16
Author: Hughie Flint firstname.lastname@example.org
"Having just returned home to Oxford after a memory-lane trip to Wythenshawe, I must say it was a depressing experience. I left there in 1963, my last home being in Solway Road and the change was dramatic. A neighbour next door to where we lived in Solway said she wouldn't dare walk in the area after dark ! Of course, some houses had been well kept, but, the Benchill area seemed pretty run down. And my old church, St John and Thomas's in Woodhouse Lane was locked, with even a padlocked gate - there never used to be a gate ! My wish is that the people of Wythenshawe might see better times and have as fond memories of the place as I do." Hughie Flint