Monday, December 5, 2011

Billy James - Sixes and Sevens (1988, Twilight)

Billy James was no solo act, rather a co-ed four piece from Athens, GA.  Produced by REM's Mike Mills, Sixes and Sevens is a jangly affair, delving the listener into a myriad of tempos and moods, with fervent harmonies running throughout.  The breezy lilt of "Withering" and "Stormy Weather" bring to mind the warm, but immensely robust guitar pop of an unrelated group that would arise in the '90s, called The Rooks that I would heartily suggest if you Sixes to your liking.  There's not much info to be unearthed on Billy James, so don't be a stranger if you have any pertinent details to share.

01. Blind
02. Dead Mans Hand
03. Cold and Crazy
04. See Thru Shades
05. Withering
06. Circular Motion
07. Honeymoon
08. Stormy Weather


RonnyK said...

I have been looking for this forever! I had a vinyl copy way back when (1988 or so). Michael Stipe's sister was in the band.

spavid said...

Would that be Lynda Stipe who was also in Oh-Ok? Thanks for the info Ronny, and if you're looking for an original copy, this isn't selling for too much on Ebay.

RonnyK said...

I think the sands of time may have diminished my memory! I double-checked and it was Hetch Hetchy that Lynda was with after Oh-OK. Doh! I am pretty sure both records came into our college station at the same time and the Mike Mills production on BJ probably caused my memory malfunction.

cruz992 said...

Definitely a lost jangle rock gem.

bglobe313 said...


1. I also was one who at one time looked all over for this because of the REM association.

2. Off-topic, but are you aware of the old vinyl sale going on at My guess is that you already have anything there that you want, but I just thought I would mention it.

Ace K.

spavid said...

I think I got the email yesterday regarding the sale. Should probably check it out...

Honest mistake Ronny. no worries.

bglobe313 said...

To RonnyK, let me also add, don't sweat it. I've recounted more wrong "memories" than most, but that comes with having a lot up there in the first place!

The world will be a lot sadder place when people stop letting their mind run with their memory and instead (as too many colleagues are starting to do) start "verifying" everything with their smart phones, as opposed to just letting the conversation and the mental connections rip.


RonnyK said...

Thanks, Ace. I agree with you!

Rainy Day Sponge said...

Billy James were one of the 5,000 Athens, GA bands that followed the B-52s, and R.E.M. and Pylon and Flat Duo Jets and Love Tractor and… They were active for a couple of years (1986-88). They had deep roots in the R.E.M.-dominated Athens alternative scene. Their only official releases (that I know of) are this mLP and the track "The Innocents" on the Twilight compilation "Make The City Grovel In It's Dust" from 1987 (produced by Jeff Walls of Guadalcanal Diary).

Paul Lombard (gtr, vcls) was (and still is) a known figure in Athens scene (he was featured in 1987 "Athens, GA - Inside/Out" documentary, with live performances and interviews of Athens bands of the time). After Billy James formed Trunkfire -a bluegrass band, and now he regularly performs in local folk and country shows)
Kelly Noonan (bs) was in Wet, and later formed the all-female Jackpot City with former members of Chicasaw Mudd Puppies, Greenhouse and Purr (now they call themselves Heavy Feather) I think Kelly is the only member of Billy James that managed to release anything after they've splitted.
Dave McNair (drms) before BJ was in The El May Dukes, later (in the 90s) in Chigago-based Clown Love and then in the Indicators (Atlanta) until 2005. A little more history and some music can be found here:
Johnny Buckner (gtr, vcls) is now working at the University of Georgia, but he's still making music and occasionally plays live. You can listen to his songs here:
Note that all four members are still living and playing music in Athens.

Here's what their label had to say about them: "We saw this band play live and within ten minutes regarded them as sacred. They snare americana, mapping the idyllic southland." Although obviously exaggerating, I think that the latter sentence is an almost accurate description of their sound.

spavid said...

Wow, thanks for all the info Rainy Day! Truthfully, out of all the post-REM Athens bands Dreams So Real did it for me more than anybody. Will have to seek out that Twilight Records comp.

Unknown said...

Didnt the lead guy from dreams so real work at the grill

spavid said...

The link has been updated.

caneda said...

Kindly Re-up pleaseeee... Thank you in advance..

t.e said...

You can hear Billy James live from 1988 at this essential archive:, where Pat Biddle (the sound man at the 40 Watt Club during the heyday of the Athens scene) posts weekly clips from his collection of tapes of shows from the era.
Billy James appears in weeks 112, 176, 348, and 450.
Lots of other great stuff in his archives - new clips posted every Friday.

frank's blogg said...

Linda Stipe was not A member of Billy James. The bass player name was Kelly Noonan.