In 1965, at a studio in Philadelphia, a most unusual novelty dance number was cut called “Peanut Duck.” The tune was shelved, but survived as an acetate. The record was discovered by a British DJ in the 1980s, who issued the track on a dubious release with misleading information. It’s now fifty years later, and the identities of all those who appeared on “Peanut Duck”—including the lead vocalist—is still a mystery. And boy, is this song bonkers!
When “Peanut Duck” was pressed in the mid-1980s, it was credited to a singer named Marsha Gee, though it was later revealed to be untrue (more below). It’s fairly obvious that it’s not the same Marsha Gee who released a song called “Baby, I Need You.”
“Peanut Duck” follows the template of novelty and fad dances like “The Loco-Motion” and “The Twist”—to a point. The unknown female vocalist does explain how to do the goofy dance, but doesn’t go into very much detail, and some of the lyrics are completely unintelligible. It’s also unclear as to what George Washington Carver’s favorite legume has to do with anything. The track really goes off the rails once it passes the 2:00 minute mark, with the singer free-forming it like you won’t believe.
In 2005, the song was said to have received its first authorized release when it was issued as a 45 on the Penniman label (with writer and publishing credits that don’t match the Joker version, but still attributed to Marsha Gee). That same year, Rhino included it on their boxed set, Girl Group Sounds: One Kiss Can Lead to Another. Here’s Rhino’s liner notes concerning the track in question:
At Virtue Sound Studio in Philadelphia, a mystery girl singer cut “Peanut Duck,” a feverish soul stomper that trailed the Loco-Motion, Mashed Potato, Twist trend. But the track was never released, and Marsha Gee was not the actual singer. The only proof of “Peanut Duck” lay in an acetate discovered by a British Northern Soul DJ who took the disc back to England and released it as a bootleg on Joker Records in the ‘80s. Not wanting his rival DJs to infringe upon his precious find, he christened the unknown singer Marsha Gee (who incidentally had a single out on Uptown Records in 1965). The true voice behind “Peanut Duck” has yet to be revealed. Anyone?
Yes, anyone? Was it YOU?