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It is also known as The Beano Album because of its cover photograph showing Eric Clapton reading The Beano, a British children's comic. Clapton stated in his autobiography that he was reading The Beano on the cover because he felt like being "uncooperative" during the photo shoot. The photographer was Derek Wedgbury and the location was near the Old Kent Road.
Originally, John Mayall intended for his second album to be also a live one in order to capture the guitar solos performed by Eric Clapton. A set was recorded at the Flamingo Club, with Jack Bruce (with whom Clapton would subsequently work in Cream) on bass. The recordings of the concert, however, were of bad quality and were scrapped.
With the original plan of a live album now discarded, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers recorded Blues Breakers at Decca Studios, West Hampstead, London in March 1966. The guitar that Eric Clapton used during these sessions was a sunburst 1960 Gibson Les Paul Standard with two PAF humbucking pickups. This guitar (which was stolen in 1966; its whereabouts remain unknown) is also called the "Blues Breaker" or "Beano" Les Paul and a replica of which was reissued by Gibson in 2012. Critics consider Clapton's guitar tone and playing on this album to be influential in the artistic and commercial development of rock-styled guitar playing.
The album consists of blues standards by long-established artists such as Otis Rush, Freddie King and Robert Johnson, as well as a few originals penned by Mayall and Clapton. Most tracks serve as a showcase for Clapton's playing. Although he sang on several Yardbirds' recordings, "Ramblin' on My Mind" was Clapton's first recorded solo lead vocal performance, which Eric had been reluctant to record.