Accompanying himself on piano and secondly on harmonica, Mabon sang in an urbane blues style similar to Charles Brown. He moved from Memphis, Tennessee, to Chicago in 1942 and was first recorded in 1949 as a member of the Blues Rockers group. After military service he became a popular entertainer in Chicago's Black Belt, and by the early 50s, was well established as an R&B singer with a number of successful records to his credit.
Signed as a solo artist to Chess Records in 1951, Mabon immediately hit the big time with a novelty blues, I Don't Know (R&B number 1, 1952), a remake of a Cripple Clarence Lofton record from 1938. Mabon had other hits with I'm Mad Poison Ivy and Seventh Son.