Ok so I made a new NeoGeo_AES folder put the roms in it and tried this again -

/Users/hairball/Games/MAME/mame64 aes -cart bjourney -rompath "/Users/hairball/Games/NeoGeo_AES;/Users/hairball/Games/MAME/bios"

and what do you know it works now! Have no idea why... maybe a some sort of internal corruption in path in Mac OS ?....

Weird....

Anyway thanks for the help.