"A master recording comes along every once in a while," confides Amoeba auctioneer/standup comedian Brently Heilbron, tongue firmly in cheek, at one of the Hollywood store's ongoing Saturday afternoon fun fueled auction-for-charity events. Brently is holding up above his head the long out-of-print Canary Training Record, a limited pressing 7" EP released some years back "by Howard's Mountain Bird Seed Company," he informs the clearly amused crowd gathered at the store for this auction that is unlike any other auction.
The novelty item is just the latest from a stack of items on the Amoeba auction block being sold to make money for several worthy charities. Items sold range from the quirky, to rare record label promotional items, to collectable artist-signed CDs/records, to sought-after concert tix for the Hollywood Bowl, etc. The one-hour Saturday afternoon Amoeba auctions, which have developed somewhat of a following since they began back in September 2005, started out initially as a direct response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina and a way to help the victims in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in its aftermath. Since then the auctions have continued but the causes have broadened to benefit numerous other needy local and global relief efforts. Perhaps most noteworthy is the fact that Amoeba not only hosts these events and donates most of the items on the auction block, but additionally matches every winning bidder's donation, up to $1,000.