Benny Laikin was from Florence, SC. At the time of his enlistment, was living in Salisbury running a hat blocking and shoe shine parlor with his wife’s brother.
Laikin was one of the most experienced musicians to join B-1. He had played with traveling swing bands on tours all over the U.S., including a stint with King Oliver’s Band. He also played with Snookum Russell’s orchestra out of Columbia, SC; Hosea Sapp’s out of Florida; and Jimmy Gunn’s band in Charlotte.
After the war, he grew tired of playing music with people who played just for money: “If it was just for the money, I don’t count that as playing.”
When he “finally got off that trumpet,” he attended barber college in Durham and owned his own shop, L & G DeLuxe Barber Shop until he retired.