He sang and played guitar at suppers and dances while working as a tenant farmer. Just as he disliked the term "bluesman", he objected to being called a sharecropper. When working for the notorious landowner Tom Moore he was forced to leave the county suddenly after striking a foreman for abusing his mother and wife. He later recorded the local ballad "Tom Moore's Blues" anonymously.
Mack McCormick and Chris Strachwitz as part of the 1960's blues revival. He appeared at the Berkeley Folk Festival in 1961 with a crowd of over 40,000 and at the first Monterey Folk Festival in 1963. He recorded seven albums and is included in a number of blues anthologies. A book, I Say For Me a Parable: The Oral Autobiography of Mance Lipscomb, was written with Glen Alyn and published after his death in 1976. He is also the subject of a documentary, A Well-Spent Life, by Les Blank.