Junior or joke?

Bob Wills' family disowns man claiming to be prince of Western Swing

Problem is, Wills only had one son (that is, only one is listed in the will and history books): James Robert, who now lives in Tulsa. When asked if his client actually said his "brothers" told Thorne to change his name, Holt says, "It was definitely plural."

He considers this for a second. "It might have been Bob Wills' brothers," he says after some hesitation. "Better to have said half-uncles."

It is likely no one will ever turn up proof proving Wills Jr. is or isn't who he claims to be; after all, it's almost impossible to prove a negative, reminds Jeff Storie. But Diane Malone and the rest of the Wills family, not to mention the surviving Texas Playboys, will never embrace Bob Wills Jr. as anything other than a liar.

"My father never wanted any one of us to be musicians," Malone says. "He raised us not to be musicians. He didn't like life on the road. It was hard, and he didn't want us to do it. My father's choice was not really to be a musician. He would have been a barber or a rancher, but he happened to be able to make money and raise a big family playing music."

"Really, I think it's sad for him [Wills Jr.] that he had to make himself feel good by being something he's not.

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