IT probably is possible to have a straight conversation with Graham Dee, one in which he provides an A to B answer, but to do so would be to miss all manner of magic.

Sat in his Bere Regis local surrounded by the bits and pieces he has gathered together to represent a lifetime of music making, he pulls nuggets from a memory bank touched by stardust.

Graham was a session musician in the 1960s alongside the likes of future Led Zeppelin members Jimmy Page and John Paul Jones.

He played for John Lee Hooker on the legendary bluesman’s first British shows, produced The Fleur de Lys (whose line-up included Bournemouth rock alumni Gordon Haskell and Tony Head), backed Elkie Brooks, The Walker Brothers and Carl Perkins, was twice hired by Van Morrison to join Them, filled in for Syd Barrett in The Pink Floyd and knew the likes of John Lennon and Tom Jones.

So rich is the tapestry of Graham’s life, author Damian Jones is working on a biography.

“I used to sit and chat for hours, just like we are now, with a young man called Davy Jones,” says Graham, embarking on another marvellous conversational detour.

“He had a band called the Lower Third and later The Manish Boys and a few years later got pretty big calling himself David Bowie.”

A cockney, born during an air raid in 1943, Graham has lived his life with a neuromuscular disorder that manifests itself in a series of ticks, twitches and spasms linked to a weakness in his neck. Eventually, in his late 30s, he was diagnosed with Tourette’s Syndrome.

It’s a thorny issue for him and he’s long contested the diagnosis.

“It’s only recently that I talk about it at all because for years I would fight people and lash out if they brought attention to it.”

Sent to boarding school in Hertfordshire, Graham fell in love with rock ’n’ roll and started playing guitar after hearing Lonnie Donegan’s landmark Rock Island Line. Soon after, he and his friends tried to break out of school to see the film Blackboard Jungle because it featured the music of Bill Haley.

Sent away again, this time to a college for the disabled, Graham got a qualification in gardening but kept up his guitar playing, forming an ad hoc group and playing for scrumpy in the cider pubs of Leatherhead.

“I was always getting into fights because I thought people were being unkind about my twitch.”

While working as a gardener Graham started playing bass semi-pro with a band called The Planets, all purple stage suits and pink socks. They had offers to go to Germany but didn’t want to turn pro so Graham jumped ship, returned to the guitar and got a job backing a crooner called Steve Arlen.

“I was paid £8 a week and all expenses taken care of, then every month he’d get me an extra gift of a sports jacket or some of his old stage suits. It was a good life.”

This led to joining the Laurie Jay Combo who backed the likes of Gary US Bonds, Memphis Slim, John Lee Hooker and Kenny Lynch and appeared in the Oliver Reed film The System.

“I formed a group called The Quotations and ended up on tour with The Animals and Tommy Tucker, night after night packed in a tour bus for about six weeks, often sleeping on the bus and an erratic schedule that had us in Scarborough one night, Exeter the next and back up north after that.

“Then I played in a band called Bobcats that was the house band at the Scotch of St James club.

“The Beatles were always in there – they had their own alcove. I remember falling asleep on an old Chesterfield sofa in the reception area and being woken up by George Harrison telling me I should get back to work, but the one I knew best was John as I used to see him out and about at other gigs and events and things.”

In 1971 he was at the legendary Muscle Shoals studios in Memphis, lived in Nashville and Los Angeles, but while his ex-songwriting partner Brian Potter enjoyed great success with the Four Tops and others Graham went in search of a solution to the twitch he so despised.

“Of course I wanted to make a name for myself and a bit of money, but more than fame, I was into recognition and acceptance of what I can do.

“My encumbrance has lead me to turn down things that could have brought success because it wouldn’t be me up front, it would be the twitch.

“So the very thing that drove me to want success and go beyond it is the same thing that stopped me accepting it.

“I spent a lifetime searching for solutions that really took me away from the thing I should have been doing most – music.”

Graham rarely talks about his twitch and it is always going to be an uncomfortable issue, but village life agrees with him and the locals know him well, embracing his digressions.

And he still gets away to see old friends and musical associates in Norfolk, Suffolk and London – he recently met up with Miles Davis’ former guitarist John McLaughlin and was looking forward to renewing his friendship with flamenco virtuoso Paco Pena.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence his fortunes seem to be changing as well.

Some of Graham’s production work has been reissued by cult record label Acid Jazz, while writer/musician/DJ Bob Stanley from ’90s hitmakers St Etienne is known to be interested in Graham’s old material.

“I feel so flattered that enthusiasts are suddenly rediscovering these songs and I hadn’t wasted as much time as I thought I had in the ’60s. It’s put a sparkle back in my life. I feel hopeful something may yet happen.

“A late flowering. Why not?”