Benny (b. James Bennett Cain, 21 May 1921, New Haven, Connecticut, USA; harmonica, mandolin, vocals) and Vallie (b. Vallie R. Cave, 19 July 1927, Kitzmiller, Maryland, USA, d. 15 April 1993; guitar, vocals) were a husband-and-wife duo who were active first in traditional country, but later in bluegrass music, for over four decades. Cain, who grew up in Berkley Springs, West Virginia, served in the US Navy during World War II and then worked in the US Treasury until 1985. In 1947, he met Cave and the pair formed a band, the Country Cousins, who played on radio in Winchester, Virginia. After marrying, in 1950, they relocated to Washington, DC, where Cain worked. During the evenings and at weekends, they began a long career of playing local venues with their band the Country Clan. In the mid-50s, they recorded for Adelphi, and in the early 60s, they recorded several sides for Rebel’sBluegrass Spectacular compilations and later recorded two albums for the label. They continued to perform through to the late 80s, often being joined by noted bluegrass musicians active in the Washington area, including Bill Emerson and Roni Stoneman and their own son, Paul. In 1982, they toured Europe and after Benny’s retirement from the Treasury in 1985, continued to play locally and at some bluegrass festivals. They eventually retired to Falls Church, Virginia. In 1990, Benny recovered sufficiently from the effects of an heart attack to make further appearances until Vallie died in 1993.
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